Go to top of page

Capital Projects Program: an investment in Old Parliament House’s future

 JJ Harrison ​
Old Parliament House. Photo by: JJ Harrison
A three-year program of essential works is under way to upgrade Old Parliament House’s ageing infrastructure, protect its heritage fabric and deliver engaging exhibitions and digital content.

As the spiritual home of Australia’s democracy, Old Parliament House is one of the nation’s most important historic buildings. Yet the reality of maintaining a 92-year-old building, one that welcomes more than 350,000 visitors each year, can be challenging.

The Capital Projects Program, funded through the Public Service Modernisation Fund, is helping to protect the fabric of the national heritage listed building, increasing building access for all visitors and helping to develop exciting new content for exhibitions.

The fund has supported building upgrades that have modernised lighting, mechanical systems, hydraulics, lifts and CCTV; refurbished Lower Senate Wing offices and committee rooms; and replaced catering equipment.

Building conservation work has included the conservation of external window joinery, the implementation of the Digital Heritage Management Plan and improvements to the museum’s collection storage facilities.

Hearing augmentation work to improve the user experience for people with hearing loss occurred in two of our most iconic spaces—King’s Hall and the House of Representatives Chamber. This work included complementary hearing augmentation systems, a wi-fi based hearing augmentation system, and the Phonak Roger system that is a standard for newer hearing aids. A new public address system that broadcasts through the hearing augmentation technologies was installed, while mounted screens and projectors linked to the sound systems were also added.

Funding also supported content updates to several permanent exhibitions, including one of our most popular exhibitions, PlayUP, which brings children and adults together through the lens of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Essential updates to Old Parliament House will continue into 2020, providing a better visitor experience while ensuring that both the heritage building and its collections are preserved for future generations.