The Canberra Parliamentary Triangle is formed by Commonwealth, Kings and Constitution Avenues. The buildings within the triangle are deliberately located for visual effect. Many are of national importance, and these are popular tourist attractions.
The apices (extremes) of the almost perfect equilateral triangle represent the three most important aspects of Canberra. They are: Parliament House (representing government); the Defence Headquarters (represent the military); and City Hill (representing the civilian part of Canberra).
The land axis of the triangle is geographical, and runs from Mount Ainslie, through Capital Hill, to Red Hill. It also passes through the Australian War Memorial, and directly down the centre of ANZAC Parade. The War Memorial is often depicted as an extension of the Parliamentary Triangle, because of the spectacular views along all parts of the land axis.
The streets in the Parliamentary Triangle are lined with large, deciduous trees, and the buildings are located in large areas of grassed parkland. There is a very open feeling to the entire area, which is the way it was planned.
The two most significant features are Parliament House and Old Parliament House. Other major buildings are located in symmetry with the triangle. Forward of Old Parliament House, near Lake Burley-Griffin and to the east, are the High Court and the National Gallery. To the west are the National Library and the National Science and Technology Centre (also known as Questacon).
On the centre of the lakeshore is Commonwealth Place. On the opposite side of the lake are Commonwealth Park and Kings Park, each near the Avenue that they are named after.
The Treasury is located just in front and to the west of Old Parliament House. The John Gorton Building (housing several important government departments), named after one of Australia’s most popular Prime Ministers, is opposite the Treasury, in front of and to the east of Old Parliament House.
In the lake itself are two important monuments. The Carillon, though just outside the Parliamentary Triangle, forms a part of Canberra’s national area. Located on Aspen island, it contains fifty five bells, chimes every quarter of an hour, and plays a tune on the hour. There are also recitals on many days.
Also in the lake, and within the triangle, is the Captain Cook Memorial, a striking jet of water that is pumped at 260 km/h from the lake to a height of up to 147 metres.
The culmination of the full day trip through the War Memorial, down ANZAC Parade, and through Old Parliament House, and the many sights on the way, is finally getting to Parliament House.
Much of Parliament House is buried beneath Capital Hill. Though security has tightened since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Parliament House is still reasonably open, compared to many other countries.
Tourists can access the foyers, adorned with matching portraits of all Australia’s former prime ministers. Access is also available to the House of Representatives, and the Senate Building (where my old boss used to have a seat).But the most striking of all is that access to the roof is still available. There are sweeping views of the city, including the American Memorial and the view back to the war Memorial, down ANZAC Avenue is most breathtaking.
A walk around the Parliamentary Triangle is a relaxing way to spend a day, and absorb the natural beauty and history of Canberra.
More Pictures Around The Parliamentary Triangle
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