State Parliament House
Why go there
A growing colony needed a hospital so Governor Macquarie in 1810 entered into an arrangement with a consortium of business men to build a hospital. The contract was for a three year monopoly over the rum trade. This explains how the hospital became known as the Rum Hospital - it was completed in 1816. By the mid 1820’s officials advising Macquarie were meeting in the Chief Surgeon’s quarters in the hospital – the Legislative Council was born. Over the next 30 years, buildings were added to the north and south ends providing chambers for the upper and lower houses forming the new parliament.
The New South Wales Parliament still occupies those original buildings and visitors can experience the history of the place where government first started in the new colony.
A Public Tour of Parliament House and both Chambers,
Experience the history of the location,
The opportunity to hear question time in the Legislative Assembly, otherwise known as The Bear Pit
Art exhibitions in the Fountain Court
Access for all
General information for people with disabilities attending Parliament House is contained in the following link: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/visit/Pages/Disability-access.aspx. It contains a wide range of access information including accessing alternative format documents, if you are coming to attend committee proceedings at Parliament House and transcripts of evidence.
There is ramp and lift access from the Macquarie Street entrance to Reception on level 7. Security officers will direct you to the entrance and a staff member will meet you and escort you into the building. People who use wheelchairs or with mobility disabilities who wish to attend Question Time or other proceedings in the chambers should advise the Houses’ front desk staff. To avoid delays call the Legislative Council on 02 9230 2319 or the Legislative Assembly on 02 9230 2219 before your visit to arrange accessibility requirements.
Hearing induction and infra-red sound enhancement systems are installed in the visitors galleries of the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council chambers and in the Jubilee Room, the main hearing room of the Parliament and the Parliamentary Theatrette.
The NSW Parliament is open to visitors on a daily basis but access to the Chambers is not available when Parliament is sitting, access is then restricted to the Visitors' Galleries (bookings are advisable for Question Time in the Legislative Assembly). The Parliament House web page lists the gazetted sitting days: Sitting Days Calendar.
Several forms of tour are conducted. Pre booked School Group Tours on non-sitting days. On sitting days, students receive an explanation of the legislature and observe Parliament in action from both public galleries. Public Tours are conducted every Monday and Friday, commencing at 1:30pm. Parliament House also opens to the public on Australia Day (26 January). Visitors have the unique opportunity to enter the legislative chambers and view other heritage rooms of Australia’s oldest Parliament.
An interesting Closed Captioned virtual tour of Macquarie St forms part of the Virtual Tour page of the Parliament House website, Main Page.
Eating and shopping
Accessible eating options near to State Parliament House are cafes at the State Library NSW, Sydney Eye Hospital and Hyde Park Barracks. Gift Shops are located at the State Library NSW and Hyde Park Barracks.
How to get there
Macquarie St runs south from Circular Quay, adjacent to the Opera House. However there is a steep incline up to the State Library of New South Wales, but it levels out to Parliament House. There are several busy roads to cross (traffic lights and kerb crossings are provided).
Transport options include Elizabeth Street buses and train stations at Circular Quay and Martin Place (less than 300m away), both stations offer easy access lifts.
Four dedicated access parking spaces are provided in Shakespeare Place, on the corner of The Macquarie St Historic Precinct and the Cahill Expressway. Basement commercial parking is available in the Sydney Hospital car park, also accessed from Hospital Rd.
To view the map, you need Adobe Reader
Interactive map: http://maps.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/accessibility-map/