The 30th anniversary of Australia’s Parliament House

Dr Joy McCann, Anna Hough
Politics and Public Administration Section

with Dr Dianne Heriot, Parliamentary Librarian

Appendix 1: Facts and statistics

  • architects Mitchell/Giurgola & Thorp designed Parliament House after winning an international competition
  • Parliament House and its landscape setting covers 32 hectares on Capital Hill, Canberra
  • construction began in 1981 and took seven years-the building was opened on 9 May 1988
  • the first sitting of Parliament in the permanent building was held on 22 August 1988
  • Parliament House cost AUD$1.1 billion to build
  • the building was constructed with 300 000 cubic metres of concrete and 90 per cent of the materials used are Australian
  • 10 000 workers were involved in constructing and fitting out the building
  • over 5000 people work in the building when Parliament sits
  • the building receives an average of one million visitors each year
  • Parliament House is designed to last 200 years
  • there are 4500 rooms with a total area of 250 000 square metres
  • the Foyer contains 48 Italian and Portuguese marble-clad pillars
  • the Great Hall contains a tapestry on the southern wall and a parquet floor of Western Australian jarrah with ebony and blackbutt inlays
  • the tapestry in the Great Hall was woven in Melbourne and is based on Arthur Boyd's painting of a bush landscape
  • there are hundreds of works of art and crafts in the building ranging from rugs, paintings and sculptures to specially-designed furniture