Celebrating 30 years of Australia’s Parliament House

Enlighten 30 years

Parliament House in Canberra is home to Australia's Parliament. It is a place where decisions that shape our nation are made, and a place for celebration, memorial and sometimes protest. Most importantly, it is a place for all Australians.

Celebrate the 30th anniversary of the opening of Parliament House by exploring the design, symbolism and function of this unique symbol of Australia's democracy.

Parliament House Fact Sheet
Discover Parliament House, where members of parliament meet to represent the Australian people and make decisions for the nation.

Australia's Parliament House Closer Look
Examine Parliament House, a symbol of Australia's democracy and unity as a nation. It is a uniquely Australian building visited by almost a million people each year.

Our house interactive
Explore Australia's Parliament House role as a meeting place for our elected representatives. (Flash player required)

Images of Parliament House
A collection of images of the outside and inside of Parliament House.

Other Parliament House resources

Exploring Parliament House in the classroom

Exploring the symbolic and physical elements of Parliament House is a great way to open a unit of study about the Australian Parliament. Introduce concepts of representation and democracy through an investigation of the home of the Australian Parliament. Here are some cross-curricula examples:

Write a first-hand account of the opening of Parliament House

Imagine you are a journalist covering the opening of Parliament House on 9 May 1988. After years of planning and building, your readers are keen to learn about this new Australian icon.

In your article you may want to answer the following questions:

  • How would you describe this brand new building to your readers?
  • What makes this building special or unique?
  • What did it feel like to be one of the first people in Parliament House?
  • What happened during the opening ceremony? Who was there, what did they give speeches about and what did the event tell us about the importance of this building?

The Canberra Times newspaper from May 1988 have been digitised by Trove. These primary sources can be used as a starting point for your reportage.

Recommend visiting Parliament House on a travel website or for a travel guide

You have been asked to write the entry on Parliament House for a Canberra tourist guide. Your aim is to get people to visit Parliament House by telling them why it is a great place to visit.

In your recommendation you might what to include the following:

  • Why is Parliament House a unique place to visit?
  • What are some highlights visitors can see when they visit?

Your editor has asked you to keep your recommendation short – a maximum of 150 words

Design your own Parliament House

Imagine it is the year 2188. Our current Parliament House is too small! You have been asked to design a new home for the Australian Parliament.

In your design for a new Parliament House, you will need to include:

  • Spaces for the Parliament to undertake its role (for example, a House of Representatives and a Senate chamber, an office for the Prime Minister)
  • How your Parliament House represents Australia and Australians. This could be through:
    • symbolic elements (for example, the Federation star used around the building represents all the states and territories)
    • the use of building materials (for example, wood from Tasmania and marble from Victoria)
    • the design of the building (for example, a large wall mural of people playing AFL).

You might also want to think about how your building includes future technology (for example, are there flying cars in 2188?).

Your design could be a floor plan, a drawing of the front to the building, a model or a written description.


Number of visitors each year
Approximately 760 000
People who work in the building while Parliament is sitting
Cost to build
$1.1 bil
Rooms in Parliament House
Clocks in the building
Size of the Australian flag flown over Parliament House
The size of a double-decker bus (12.8m x 6.4m)