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Australia Old Parliament House

1997 Proof One Dollar reverse 1997 Proof One Dollar obverse

1997 Proof One Dollar

Mintage:21,791
Reverse Designer:Horst Hahne Obverse Designer:Raphael Maklouf Size:41mm Weight:31.6g Edge:Interrupted Composition:99.99% Silver

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1997 marked the 70th anniversary of the construction of the Old Parliament House in Canberra in 1927. The reverse, designed by Horst Hahne, features the old parliament house with an inner design of the 1927 florin and the legend OLD PARLIAMENT HOUSE 1927-1997 1 DOLLAR. The obverse features the traditional Raphael Maklouf portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, right-facing, crowned, with necklace and earrings. It also contains the legend ELIZABETH II AUSTRALIA 1997.

Built in 1927 as the initial parliamentary structure in the new Australian capital Canberra, Old Parliament House was the focal point of constitutional activity until 1988. It maintained a strong fondness and was regarded as the House that shaped a nation (Nican, 2014) . John Smith Murdoch, the initial Commonwealth government architect, constructed the building. He was asked to construct a transitional structure that would provide as a provisional parliament for a minimal period of 50 years. The new Australian Capital city of Canberra grew around Old Parliament House. When the Australian colonies joined to form the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, a need for a national capital arose. Parliament House could be described as a town within the city of Canberra. It was fully self-contained with its own post office, library, pubs, barber shop, carpentry workshop and dining hall. While it was a working parliament, many of Australia's primary political agendas were addressed within its walls. Political careers commenced and terminated and major decisions were attained. Great debates that determined and influenced the future of the Australian nation as well as nations globally were formed and birthed important resolutions. The building is not only meaningful due to influential events that transpired but shows great significance with regards to architectural values.

Architect Murdoch worked with the stripped classical style, common in government buildings in the 1920s and 1930s. It is a distinguished characteristic in Murdoch's other Canberra buildings, many of which are original government office buildings in Canberra. Murdoch's transitional and provisional parliament building was humble as well as functional. It served as an energy efficient building prior to the era. Windows, skylights and light wells captured natural light by their design. There were many changes in Old Parliament House throughout the years with regards to essence and size of the Federal Parliament. The House of Representatives grew from 76 to 148 constituents and the Senate from 36 to 76 constituents. The Speaker of the House, the President of the Senate, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Government in the Senate and ministers were the sole officials that were privy to their own offices (Museum of Australian Democracy, 2014) . The building had topped its capacity by the 1980s with almost 3000 people crowded into a building initially designed for a few hundred. Parliament was held in this building for 60 years over which time numerous important resolutions were concluded and Australia as a nation experienced a time of great adjustment and innovative development. Today Old Parliament House is a heritage site and political history museum and tenders a program of exhibitions, events, workshops and tours. Australia's National Portrait Gallery is housed in Old Parliament House as well. On display are exquisite and elegant restored and refurbished spaces. The National Portrait Gallery commemorates the accomplishments of those who have made an overwhelming input or donation to the Australian way of life. Old Parliament House hosts functions based on its availability. There is a cafe in the House and the Old Parliament House Shop. The Old Parliament House is open to the general public and shares occupancy with the Museum of Australian Democracy.

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