Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Parliament House

I arrived at Parliament House for the second stop on my 'Me Day' in the city, a 10:30 tour of the prominent building on Spring St.

Parliament House
After going through the security checkpoint, I met our guide and the rest of our small group in The Vestibule, or main entrance. Our bags were stored in a locker and we were issued with a tour sticker.
We were led into Queen's Hall, which is available to hire for events and functions. A statue of Queen Victoria was installed in 1883 and portraits of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert adorn the walls of the upper level.
The lower walls feature images of former Victorian Premiers, such as John Brumby, Steve Bracks, Jeff Kennett and the state's first female Premier, Joan Kirner.
I can't think of the late Ms Kirner, without remembering with a chuckle the time she appeared on the D-Gen's The Late Show, as Joan Jett, singing 'I Love Rock'n'Roll'.
Parliament House
Next, we moved into the Legislative Council Chamber, with its Roman Corinthian style columns, ornate ceilings and royal red colours. The Royal Lion, Crown and Unicorn sit above a throne type chair, reserved for the Queen or the Governor General.
Parliament House
I'd rather hear about architecture than politics, so I have to admit I spent more time looking at the ceiling than listening to the guide talk about parliamentary proceedings...something something...
The amount of gold leaf used in the building was apparently worth $10 million in today's value. 
I loved the sculptural reliefs of female figures, symbolising concepts such as History and Plenty.
There was a midday sitting of Parliament on the day I did the tour, and we were invited to sit in and watch, if we were interested.
Parliament House
Along a corridor with ceilings of pastel pink, blue and yellow detail, through to the Legislative Assembly Chamber.
A pair of columns sit either side of the Speaker's Chair and a green theme runs throughout the room.
Parliament House
 Three huge Waterford crystal chandeliers lit up the room, illuminating the reliefs of cherubs and highlighting the intricate details of the ceiling.
Parliament HouseAnd then to my favourite part of the tour, a peek at The Library. A stunning chandelier, made of 2000 pieces of crystal, sits under the domed ceiling.
Parliament House

The sun was streaming through the windows, creating a warm and sunny corner where a comfy old chair sat. I wanted to abandon the tour and the rest of my day, and just curl up in that corner with a dusty old book.
Parliament HouseBooks as far as the eye could see...Parliament House
Doors either side of the Central Reading Room lead to two smaller rooms and a spiral staircase ascends to the upper gallery.
Parliament House
Back to The Vestibule, for a look at its huge mosaic floor and the end of the 45 minute tour.   I grabbed my bag and headed back out into the Winter sunshine for the next leg of my journey...Parliament House

What: Parliament House Public Tour
Where: Spring St, East Melbourne
When: Times vary
Why: historic building, architecture
How Much: FREE tour
Nearby: St Patrick's Cathedral   State Library of Victoria

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