Parliament House celebrated its 25th year in 2013. This venerable Australian landmark has become the iconic symbol of Australian Government. In recognition of this the Royal Australian Mint decided to issue a commemorative twenty cent. The Parliament House is located within a thirty-two hectare site on Capital Hill in the capital city of Canberra. It was 25 years ago that it was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The House is now open to the public and it has a very impressive art collection as well as being able to view the Magna Carta.
1901 is the year of the first official meeting of the Australian Federal Parliament at which time meetings were held in Melbourne at the Victorian Parliament House. Debates were held for a number of years concerning the matter of the best location for the nations permanent Parliament building. There were a number of specifications that had to be fulfilled through the location and as the two largest cities of Sydney and Melbourne could not be considered as options, Canberra, New South Wales was chosen. World War 1 was happening at the time, which contributed to the delay of the completion of the provincial Parliament House, now known as Old Parliament House in 1927. (Parliament of Australia, 2013) Parliament was held in this building for the next 60 years over which time many important decisions were made and Australia as a nation went through a period of great change and development. The Old Parliament House is now open to the public and is occupied by the Museum of Australian Democracy. The New Parliament House, also located in Canberra was opened by her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II on May 9th 1988. The architectural company Mitchell/Giurgola designed it, after winning a competition started in 1978.
The architects of Parliament House had many aspects to take in to consideration with grandiosity and magnitude only being a couple. The parliamentary Triangle which is referred to as the representative centre of the city took on great consideration. The new Parliament House needed to be viewed as a distinguished part of Canberra, but its presence should not monopolize the city based on its architectural lay out. The architect, Romaldo Giurgola commented: "We felt if Australia's new Parliament House was to speak honestly about its purpose, it could not be built on top of the hill as this would symbolise government imposed upon the people. The building should nest with the hill; symbolically rise out of the Australian landscape, as true democracy rises from the state of things". The Parliament House building was the largest development site in the Southern Hemisphere of Australia in the 1980s. The area consisted of 7.5 hectares of the total 32 hectare site. A substantial space consisting of one fifth of the superstructure is open to the general public for viewing. It is renowned as one of Canberra's largest tourist attractions.
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