Visiting Adelaide’s Impressive Parliament House

Set in the north-west corner of the North Terrace, Adelaide City’s Parliament House is one of the most impressive buildings around – but it came about amongst a bitter debate which took place during the planning and construction stages.

The site’s original design was the brainchild of E.W. Wright and Lloyd Taylor who won a competition that was ran to find a relevant and popular design. Their initial plans featured a Greek Revival theme, with ornate columns, huge towers, and a large central dome, but this design was soon modified by the Government Architect-in-Chief, E.J. Woods, after arguments surrounded the original between 1872 and 1886.

Woods was appointed to supervise the construction by the Marble and Building Company, under the premise that he would use marble from the company for the walls and granite for the base.

It wasn’t until 1889 that the first stage of Parliament House was opened. In 1936, Sir J. Langdon Bonython put forward £100,000 for the development of the second stage which was opened in June 1939. This stage included both the central and eastern sections, though money for the central dome that featured in the original plans ran out so this wasn’t completed in time.

The final version of Parliament House features no less that 10 Corinthian columns (the original plan only featured six), with a set of grand steps that make up the North Terrace façade.

Visiting Parliament House

Parliament House is open to the public, giving visitors the chance to explore one of the city’s most impressive buildings and learn more about the political past, present, and future of the region and Australia as a whole.

You can go into the building whenever parliament is sitting to watch the action unfold, or you can take one of the free tours which are available on non-sitting weekdays at 10am and 2pm. When parliament is sitting, you can also view Question time, which takes place at 2pm and sees the members taking and answering questions about the city and beyond.

Today, Parliament House is a 47-seat House of Assembly, consisting of 24 labor, 21 liberal, and 2 independents.

If you’re keen to get into the heart of Adelaide’s political scene and learn more about the building’s rich and much-debated history, a visit to Parliament House is on the agenda. Not only can you take a free tour of everything that’s on offer, but you can sit in while the members are taking Question Time and having their regular sittings.