Tag Archives: Parliament House

An autumn walk around Old Parliament House in Canberra

This building, affectionately known as ”The Wedding Cake” is Old Parliament House, first opened in 1927.  It is now home to the Museum of Australian Democracy.

IMG_1900 (1024x639)

Paul worked in this elegant old building when we first came to Canberra, in 1983. The building, and surrounding gardens hold many memories for Paul and our family…especially the children’s party held in the gardens every Christmas.

Today we are taking advantage of the beautiful autumn weather to walk around the building and then down to Lake Burley Griffin for coffee.

IMG_1855 (1024x686)

The Oak trees on the right of the building are just turning into autumn splendour and,

….where there is an acorn, not far away are the cockatoos.

IMG_1882 (1024x842)

This is a common sight on the lawns around the Parliamentary buildings

IMG_1856 (1024x953)

IMG_1859 (1024x767)


This monument celebrates the important role of the 13th Century English Magna Carta.

IMG_1868 (1024x542)

The monument is sited close to Parliament House and the High Court because the Magna Carta established the framework for the Australian legal system, Constitution and Parliament.

We walked around the building and came to the statue of two Prime Ministers who were also good friends. John Curtin (PM from 1941-1945) on the left, and Ben Chifley (PM from 1945-1949) on the right.

IMG_1894 (995x1024)I have read that Ben Chifley, in the early days of his campaigning, did so on a shoe string. He travelled by train whenever he could, and when he couldn’t, he drove himself. His wife Liz always packed him a lunchbox and he also took his billy to make some tea along the way. He loved stopping by the wayside, gathering a few twigs, and boiling his billy at any time of the day.

IMG_1895 (1024x798)

During Parliamentary sitting times the two men lodged in a small hotel nearby, called the Kurrajong, not far from Parliament House, and often walked this path together.

IMG_1897 (1024x771)


IMG_1899 (1024x710)

When Ben Chifley died there was a wonderful quote attributed to Oliver Hogue:

”He understood the human heart, the ideals, the ambitions, the follies, the passion of men and women. Chifley put tolerance amongst the highest virtues, and had it in large measure himself.”

IMG_1906 (1024x707)

Walking along the paths of the Parliamentary Triangle on such a fine day, it is particularly special to see the variety of trees…the Eucalypts look very striking amongst the contrasting colours of other species.

The galahs are having an autumn feast amongst the leaves.

IMG_1911 (1024x745)

Further down the path towards Lake Burley Griffin are the beautiful Claret Ash trees….and Black Mountain Tower in the distance.

IMG_1917 (1024x530)

The autumn days are warm and sunny and there is usually no wind, most people are out and about as much as possible. (and yes, I know, winter cometh…)

IMG_1920 (1024x721)

The Manchurian Pear trees along the edge of Lake Burley Griffin are a much loved sight in autumn.

IMG_1927 (1024x808)

About a month ago we took a boat ride around the lake, unfortunately the weather was hazy and cloudy that day. However, Paul took this great photo,  of the National Library…this is undoubtedly my favourite building..

IMG_8756 (1024x710)

and looking back on it, we were surprised to see that the Claret Ashes were turning red, even in mid March.

As it is time to head homeward, we walk back to the car..

…well hello, you are never alone near an Oak tree…

IMG_8863 (1024x1021)

I wonder if he is searching for something to eat, or, merely breaking off a few branches… just for fun….?

IMG_8864 (1024x818)

Happy weekend everyone!

The Bogong Moths bring down the lights at Parliament House


Last year I joined a tour of the courtyard gardens of Parliament house. The gardens themselves, with careful planning and natural protection from frost and wind are absolutely stunning in spring. (More on these gardens in spring)

While we walked around I couldn’t help noticing just how many currawongs and magpies were flying around the gardens.

australian parliament house for the federal government in canberra

Australian Parliament House for the Federal Government in Canberra

To add to the mix, there were also Bogong moths who have long been attracted to the lights of Canberra. Their natural lifecycle is to breed in the plains of Southern Queensland, western NSW and Victoria, and in spring, they migrate south to cooler alpine areas…

…….but along the way they are drawn to Canberra, and…. what could be a greater magnet for a moth than the flagpole of  Parliament House, and the surrounding light?

In 2013 we had warmer spring weather and strong winds, and these conditions brought the moths to Canberra unseasonably early and in greater numbers.

The moths, can cause havoc in and out of Parliament House…….they regularly set off fire alarms, block air-conditioning units, get entangled in people’s hair, clothing, rubbish bins, even landing in lunches and cups of tea and coffee.

A sign on one of the office doors within Parliament House is an example of frustrated (yet tolerant). public servants….

If you can read this sign, you are not a moth and you are welcome to come in. Well-mannered moth eating birds are also welcome.

The rich pickings in the lush courtyard gardens and the large juicy moths must be sheer heaven for currawongs and magpies. I was told that a currawong, in an attempt to catch it’s prey, flew into the building after a moth, gobbled it down and then flew off down the corridors towards the Senate chamber.

There is  something endearingly Australian  about a currawong flying down the corridor to the Senate chamber.

I don’t know if the Currawong made it to the Senate, but with all this wildlife in and around Parliament House I believe the moths had one positive influence…the flag pole light has been replaced with led lights…..less moths, and a wonderful energy saver for us all!