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Parliament House

Things to do Sydney
The heritage listed New South Wales Parliament building, taken from Macquarie Street, viewed from beyond the gates
Photograph: Supplied

Time Out says

Known to locals as the Bear Pit, the New South Wales Parliament is said to be the roughest, toughest parliament in the country.

Its impressive sandstone home was built between 1811 and 1814 as the northern wing of the Rum Hospital, but was commandeered in 1829 to house the new colony’s decision makers.

Only the Legislative Assembly (lower house) existed until 1850s, when the parliament became bicameral.

The Legislative Council (upper house) meets in a building that was originally intended for use as a church; the cast-iron prefab was being shipped from Glasgow to Victoria when it was diverted mid-voyage to Sydney.

The parliament is largely modelled on its mother in London: there’s a Speaker and Black Rod, and even the colour scheme follows the British tradition of green for the lower chamber and red for the upper chamber.

Legislative sessions are open to the general public, with viewing from a public gallery. Booking is essential for the guided tours.



Address: Opposite Hunter Street
6 Macquarie St
Transport: Nearby CityRail stations: Martin Place and St James
Price: Free
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm; closed public holidays
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