19 November 2020
The Presiding Officers have welcomed the decision to permanently place Parliament House on the State Register of Heritage Places, and have made the following statement.
As one of Perth’s oldest buildings, and still operating for its original purpose, we were delighted to support an application that Parliament House and the A-Class Reserve on which it is situated be permanently included in the State Register of Heritage Places. On 25 September 2020 the Heritage Council recommended to the Minister for Planning, Lands and Heritage, the Hon. David Templeman MLA, that Parliament House become a State Heritage site today and the Minister approved the recommendation. We thank the Minister for his support.
As the seat of our democracy, Parliament House represents the fundamental freedoms and rights of Western Australians and is indeed the “Peoples” House. As Presiding Officers’ we have gained a good understanding of the challenges in maintaining a building of this age and recognise its significance to our democratic process.
The western wing, along with the Chambers, were built in 1904. Although the new Parliament House was an immense improvement on previous buildings, bringing together the Chambers in one building, it remained unfinished for a further 60 years. The eastern wing was constructed between 1958 and 1964. In 1977 and 2004 the southern and northern wings were constructed. The most recent enhancement to the Parliamentary Reserve was completed this year with the Heritage restoration and repurposing of the former Parliamentary Fountains which are now also included in the Register. As Presiding Officers’, we are particularly proud to be part of this significant event.
The Parliament of Western Australia has such a rich history, not just the building and grounds, but also because of the 819 Members of Parliament past and present, who have served Western Australia as drivers for change. I take this opportunity to highlight one of the most significant events of any Australian Parliament which occurred here in 1921; that was the election of Edith Cowan, as the Member for West Perth and the first female member of an Australian Parliament. Next year will mark 100 years since Edith Cowan made her inaugural speech in this iconic building on 28 July 1921; her advocacy for social reforms, care for children, and women’s voices is her enduring legacy.
We appreciate the support of the Minister, the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage and the Heritage Council of Western Australia. With the financial support of the Government we look forward to developing a comprehensive conservation plan to maintain and preserve Parliament House and its surrounds as one of the most significant places of built heritage in Western Australia and the seat of our democracy.
|Hon Kate Doust MLC
|| Hon Peter Watson MLA
|President of the Legislative Council
|| Speaker of the Legislative Assembly
Learn more about the history of Parliament House and grounds.