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Country Party Room

The home of the Country Party. 


Main floor

For almost 60 years this room was the home of the Country Party, later known as the National Party.

Party members had passionate arguments and intense debates around this table and they were so attached to it that they took it with them when parliament moved to Australian Parliament House in 1988.

The party room was a place to celebrate achievements, build camaraderie and even take a nap – as Doug Anthony used to do as a junior politician. 

This black and white photograph captures the jubilation in the National Party Room on the first day back after the March 1983 federal election. Leader Doug Anthony shakes the hand of Noel Hicks, member for Riverina. Some of Noel’s colleagues have their hands raised in fist pumps and Flo Bjelke-Petersen is standing on a sofa with a big grin on her face. In the background are portraits of leaders and formal and informal photographs of the party.

Leader of the National Party Doug Anthony and colleagues warmly welcome Noel Hicks back to the party room after he defended a slim margin of 0.5 per cent to hold onto the seat of Riverina, 1983. Photograph courtesy Noel Hicks, MoAD Collection

A wooden sign showing the date and time of the next party meeting

‘There’s been blood, sweat and tears shed on that table over the past 80 years.'

- Senator Ron Boswell

This black and white photograph shows 11 members of the Country Party Standing Committee on Drought meeting in the party room. They are seated at a large oval table covered with papers and almost all of the men have looked up to acknowledge the camera. They are uniformly dressed in dark suits, white shirts and ties and some are wearing waistcoats. In the background is a large curtained window, small desks with stationery holders and framed portraits of Country Party leaders.

The Country Party Standing Committee on Drought meets in the party room in 1965. National Archives of Australia M60, 42

A pinboard covered with cutouts from newspapers from 1985, a postcard from the Kosciusko snowfields and a booklet with a black and white photo and the title 'the role of the Country Party in Australian politics.'

Interview with Barrie Virtue

Between 1964 and 1984, Barrie Virtue served as Press Secretary, Private Secretary and Principal Private Secretary to the Rt Hon Doug Anthony. In this interview highlight, hear Mr Virtue sing a song about trade that he wrote and performed for an event. 

Plan your visit

A quiet audio track plays classical music in the Country Party Room. A video plays in the exhibition.

There are small rooms and some narrow spaces.