Old Canberran’s Old Photos – Part 12 – Parliament House

johnboy 9 April 2009 21

[First filed: April 08, 2009 @ 07:39]

This is the 12th and final part of a series of photographs taken by RiotACT reader Old Canberran on his Kodak Box Brownie from 1948.

This one came in with the following note:

    On my ride home from school I used to call in and park myself in the visitor’s gallery and watch the carryings on of the pollies. There is something about this lovely old building which captures the attention as soon as you enter King’s Hall.

    This photos shows the original position of the King George Fifth memorial, I don’t know why it was moved to it’s present spot off to the side. When the new and permanent Parliament House was under construction the Parliamentary Committee overseeing the whole project was faced with the problem of what to do with the old building. Apparently they looked at 3 options, one was to demolish it completely, another was to demolish the additions and bring it back to it’s original state and the third was to leave it as is and make a museum out of it. Thankfully common sense prevailed and it’s still there for all to see and experience its charisma.

    I have enjoyed sharing my few old photos with you all and judging from most of the comments, you have enjoyed them as well. If you are interested in Canberra’s early history I recommend a visit to the old Parliament House souvenir shop, the National Library bookshop and possibly Regatta Point but I have no idea what’s there these days. One of Canberra’s journalists, Alan Fitzgerald produced a book titled “Canberra in Two Centuries” in 1987 ISBN 0909278024 which is excellent. Another is “Images of early Canberra”, the Mildenhall Collection ISBN 0644258519 which has some wonderful old photos of very early Canberra. You live in one of three unique capital cities in the world that have been planned from almost day 1. The other two are Geneva and Washington DC. While Canberra’s history only goes back to the early 1800’s as far as white people are concerned, the aborigines lived there long before that.

Many thanks to OC for sending these in every week.

If you’ve got an idea for a feature series email it to john@the-riotact.com. Best to talk to me about whether we can run it before doing too much work.

What's Your Opinion?

Please login to post your comments, or connect with
21 Responses to Old Canberran’s Old Photos – Part 12 – Parliament House
GardeningGirl GardeningGirl 4:36 pm 11 Apr 09

Thank you Old Canberran for sharing this and all your other photos.
I have a vague childhood memory of attending Carols by Candlelight in front of the King George Fifth memorial and later when I used to catch a bus to work past there I was puzzled that it wasn’t in the central location that I remembered.

Granny Granny 10:26 am 09 Apr 09

; )

old canberran old canberran 9:41 am 09 Apr 09

Granny said :

I have thoroughly enjoyed this series, Old Canberran, as I think you may have noticed! Your photographs have brought me a lot of pleasure and have brought some very fond memories to mind.

I know you have, Granny. Your comments on the Hotel Civic thread were priceless.
Thereby hangs a tale.

Granny Granny 9:37 am 09 Apr 09

Glad you’ll be sticking around, Old Canberran!

: )

old canberran old canberran 9:06 am 09 Apr 09

Thanks for all the nice comments, people. It was very fortunate that I stumbled across this web site some months ago around the same time as I was cleaning out a cupboard and found my old photo album. What better place to share the pics with a group of Canberrans of the modern vintage. Johnboy made that all happen and I am just sorry that I don’t have any more of that era.

Canberra was a vastly different place in the 40’s and 50’s and it’s only now that I realise just how different it was. It is still a great place to live and bring up a family but it should never have been allowed to be governed by amateur politicians. I do intend to hang around here and make to occasional comment or two as I still have a very soft spot for my birthplace.

Spam Box Spam Box 8:55 am 09 Apr 09

Thanks old mate, it’s really has been a wonderful journey. I’d buy your a beer any day, great stuff

Granny Granny 11:28 pm 08 Apr 09

I have thoroughly enjoyed this series, Old Canberran, as I think you may have noticed! Your photographs have brought me a lot of pleasure and have brought some very fond memories to mind.

Old Parliament House for me is one of my favourite places. When I walk into the Prime Minister’s office it’s like walking back into being a child again. I almost expect Mrs Birtles to come round the corner and say, “Keep together, children!”

vg vg 9:55 pm 08 Apr 09

Thanks, these shots are brilliant

ant ant 9:09 pm 08 Apr 09

I was wandering around the House of Reps rose garden today, enjoying the soft air and sunshine, and making mental notes of what roses to get. Their apricot/ginger bed roses are exceptional right now. The show of “Just Joey” is marvellous, although that rose is always good.

My grandfather did his apprenticeship doing the joinery in OPH, as they built it. It’s a shame they moved the King George statue, it looks weird shoved to the side like it is. Out in the middle is where it belongs. The Aboriginal Embassy could have used it to put their tents against.

DC DC 8:08 pm 08 Apr 09

I’ve only been in Canberra for 15 years and have enjoyed OC’s photos – many thanks. Add Islamabad as the capital of Pakistan to the list.

seekay seekay 3:06 pm 08 Apr 09

The Alan Fitzgerald book has got some fascinating pictures in it. If you can find it, snap it up.

wishuwell wishuwell 1:11 pm 08 Apr 09

I,m so glad I still have various bits of furniture my grandfather made out of offcuts from the chamber.

p1 p1 12:15 pm 08 Apr 09

I’ve been a big fan of the series. Makes me keep thinking I should go take some photos myself, so I have something to show the grandkids in fifty years. Assuming I can find a device that will show such a antique data form as a digital photo…

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 12:06 pm 08 Apr 09

I think there’s an explanation on the memorial’s plaque as to why it ws moved. Can’t remember the reason though.

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 10:35 am 08 Apr 09

I’d like to also add my thanks, the photos have been very educational.

Qbn Gal Qbn Gal 10:24 am 08 Apr 09

And thank you from me too!

Spectra Spectra 9:43 am 08 Apr 09

You live in one of three unique capital cities in the world that have been planned from almost day 1. The other two are Geneva and Washington DC.

Also Brasília and New Dehli – indeed, looking at the central area of New Dehli on google maps reminds one strongly of Canberra.

Thanks very much for the photos – I loved them 🙂

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 9:32 am 08 Apr 09

Three cheers for old canberran… Thank you!

The Mildenhall books are great, too.

I drive past OPH most days on the way to and from work, and I make sure I remember to take some time out from time to time to appreciate the surroundings. OPH out one window, the lake, ANZAC Pde and Mt Ainslie out the other.

Life in Canberra is good.

Thumper Thumper 8:36 am 08 Apr 09

I love these old shots of OPH, sitting in the middle of an almost desolate sheep paddock.


Ozhair Ozhair 8:31 am 08 Apr 09

Yeah, thanks Old Canberran 🙂 The photos have been intriguing, I always find it interesting seeing how much things have changed. And your photos have stimulated a lot of trips down Memory Lane for a lot of RiotAct readers 🙂

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter


Search across the site