Between 1964 and 1984, Barrie Virtue OBE served as press secretary, private secretary and principal private secretary to the Rt. Hon. Doug Anthony. Matters relating to trade were among his highest priorities during this period.
I’ve been working at the museum for over 18 months now and, though I’ve become accustomed to the building’s rabbit warren-like layout and (sometimes) pokey rooms, one place that has continued to pique my interest is the room where we keep our office stationery.
I was recently having breakfast at home reading the Canberra Times (10 April 2013) report of the death of British Prime Minister, Mrs Margaret Thatcher. The article included a series of photos documenting Mrs Thatcher’s life. One of the photos caught my interest. The caption read ‘Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and British PM Margaret Thatcher in Canberra’ 1st July 1979.
This is a rather different item from our Oral History collection: a recording of a radio campaign speech rather than an edited excerpt from an interview. In this broadcast, Sir Earle Page GCMG MP (1880-1961), who had been Deputy Prime Minister since 1923, sees industrial relations as the main issue for the 1929 election.
Last Saturday, 27 April, was the 109th anniversary of the Watson government. On 27 April 1904, the government of Alfred Deakin collapsed after Labour members led by John Christian Watson withdrew support. Watson was then commissioned to form a government, which lasted just four months.
For several years in the late 1920s and 1930s, before the opening of the Australian War Memorial, the provisional Parliament House (now the Museum of Australian Democracy) was the focus of Anzac Day ceremonies in Canberra.
We recently attended two conferences—The artefact, its context, and their narrative: multidisciplinary conservation in historic house museums and Interpretation—future challenge. Two conferences, different themes, yet we came away thinking about a common idea—’spirit of place’.
I’ve been asked to tell you about my favourite object or space in the museum. Where to start? There are so many wonderful objects and rooms in this beautiful museum that I am spoilt for choice.
For the past six months I’ve had the pleasure of working with our Heritage, Exhibitions and Content Development teams and our external designers/developers to produce the Wear your colours touchscreen interactive for the Living Democracy exhibition.
Joan Child, AO, was Australia’s first female Speaker of the House of Representatives. Her death on 23 February 2013 has been mourned by all sides of politics. When elected in 1974, she was the Australian Labor Party’s first female Member of the House and only the fourth woman to sit in the House.
On 8 March the Museum of Australian Democracy celebrates International Women’s Day. This year marks some significant anniversaries for women in the political sphere and there is no better place in Canberra to mark these events than at the museum, located in Old Parliament House.
Visitors often ask our volunteers and visitor experience staff about the bronze ventilation ducts in the House of Representatives and Senate chambers. These were installed during construction of the building (1923–1927) as part of the original air conditioning system. A lot of people are amazed to learn that air conditioning even existed at that time, and wonder how elaborate it could have been.
One of the highlights of my first year at the museum remains the visit I received from a teacher at a local girls’ school. I had heard from one of our staff members that this teacher had been very creative in devising a learning activity on Federation.
Marching through the paint layers of history—revealing the hidden secrets of Provisional Parliament House (part 3)
Do you enjoy messing about with sample pots of paint and mixing in just a touch more white or black to get the shade just so? If you answered a resounding yes then the Members’ Dining Room was your idea of heaven during January.
Jessie Bennett came to Canberra as a trainee librarian in 1947 when the Parliamentary Library and the National Library were combined. Such were the attitudes of the times that she recalls how neighbouring farmers wondered why her father would allow a country girl from Tongala in the Goulburn River valley, Victoria, to go to university—after all, she was only a woman!
The care and preservation of our collections and the building itself often occurs at the micro level and during climatic, seasonal changes. During this time a particular range of threats emerge—pests.
Behind the Lines 2012 is not just for adult visitors, as a part of our ongoing commitment to family programming, the museum has created exciting and engaging content that brings children into the conversation about political cartooning.
Marching through the paint layers of history—revealing the hidden secrets of Provisional Parliament House (Part 2)
A week is a long time at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House…especially when you are scraping paint off walls while the rest of Australia is lazing about on the beach, watching the cricket, playing with Christmas presents and feasting on leftovers.
After years consigned to the spare room, the garage and the share house, a television has finally come back to its original home in the Prime Minister’s Suite at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House.