The Parliamentary Library has recently updated its chronology
of Australia’s Parliament House, first published in March 2013 to celebrate the building’s 25th anniversary as the home of the Commonwealth Parliament. The chronology presents defining events and turning points in the evolution of the building and its landscape setting, as well as a selection of milestones in the history of the Commonwealth Parliament right up to the present.
Australia’s Parliament House in Canberra is the meeting place of the Parliament of Australia and is one of the most visited and visible buildings in Australia. Since its opening on 9 May 1988, Parliament House has welcomed more than 25 million Australian and international visitors. It is a place for Australians and their elected representatives to promote their views on matters of importance to the nation, and it has been the setting for a myriad of ceremonial, political, community and social events of national significance.
The chronology captures events that have galvanised the nation: the memorial service for victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks held in the Great Hall in 2001, the 2006 reception for two miners rescued from the Beaconsfield mine in Tasmania after 14 days trapped underground, and the national apology for forced adoptions in 2013. It bears witness to the work of the Commonwealth Parliament: the marathon ‘Mabo’ debate in 1993, the announcement of the Australia United States Fair Trade Agreement in 2004, and visits by world’s leaders, to name a few. The chronology also recognises the Parliament of Australia as the custodian of nationally significant collections including historic petitions, reports and artworks, and it recognises that the building is also a workplace accommodating more than 5000 people during parliamentary sitting weeks.
The chronology of Australia’s Parliament House is richly illustrated and includes early film footage, television and radio broadcasts, oral histories, artworks, petitions and reports relating to the history of the Commonwealth Parliament and its first permanent home. This material has been drawn together for the first time from an extensive range of sources including the Parliament of Australia and Australia’s national collecting institutions including the National Archives of Australia, the National Film and Sound Archive, the National Library of Australia and the National Portrait Gallery.