Sunday, August 13, 2006

Ladies' Toilets at Old Parliament House

Canberra's Old Parliament House is now houses the National Portrait Gallery, but the opportunity to consider its former use is still very much there. You can view the chambers - House of Reps (green leather seats) and Senate (red leather seats).

This evidence of its past made me chuckle. When the bells would ring for a division and members were needed in the house to vote, they clearly made sure there was no escape - even in the loo! The bells to alert you, and the lights to advise for which chamber.

I do not plan to blog regularly, if ever again, on the features of public lavatories, but this was irresisistible. The architecture - much of it original, like this door - is part of its appeal: for example the loo basins are in period (with modern washers) and the rectangular 'brick' -style white tiles on the wall too.

The soon-to-close exhibition, Mrs Prime Minister about PM's wives since Federation (from 1901) was entertaining, particularly in the small details of how they conducted themselves in their 'first lady' role (eg. Pattie Menzies got a second-hand stroller/pushchair for her visiting grandchildren, painted it herself, and in using it discovered the inconvenient lack of footpaths in Canberra. And did something about it.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Ruth, Thanks for posting about the exhibition and for giving the website. I really enjoyed the info it gives. I wasn't aware that the exhibition was on. When does it finish?
I love Old Parliament House.