Parliament of New South Wales
Australia’s first and oldest parliament
About the building
Australia’s first and oldest parliament has evolved over the centuries to accommodate expansion and change. The building started life in 1816, as part of a general hospital called the ‘Rum Hospital’ as it was built in exchange for a monopoly on the importation of 60,000 gallons of rum.
In 1843, it was expanded to include the first purpose built legislative chamber, which is used today by the Legislative Assembly. In 1906, Government Architect Walter Liberty Vernon designed the parliamentary library, now called the Jubilee Room. In 1983, an administrative tower designed by the Government Architect office was added.
The late-20th-century additions balance the design demands of functionality and security, and conservation, restoration and heritage. In 1983, architect and celebrated fountain designer Robert Woodward designed the Fountain Court, which serves as the transition between the old parliament building and the new. In 2015 the Government Architect office partnered with Andrew Andersons, then with PTW, to design a new level of offices adjacent to the level 9 roof garden.
The Parliament of NSW is closed on weekends, except for Sydney Open. In addition, the two exhibition spaces of the Parliament of NSW – the Fountain Court and Reconciliation Wall will be open. The Parliament of NSW has undergone critical maintenance work which has been hidden behind scaffolding throughout 2023. Some of this completed work will be visible during Sydney Open, including the newly painted façade.Built
Parliament of NSW; Mortimer Lewis, 1843; Walter Liberty Vernon, 1906; Robert Woodward, 1983; PTW, 2015Awards
Concrete Institute of Australia – Award for Excellence in Concrete 1981
IES Illumination Awards – Meritorious Lighting Award 1984
Royal Australian Institute of Architects NSW Awards – Lloyd Rees Award for a Work of Outstanding Environmental Design 1985
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