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A group of 17 members from Probus Club of Fremantle attended a tour to the Parliament house on Monday 7th November.

We were all treated to a very informative and enjoyable tour. We commenced our tour with afternoon tea in the Aboriginal Room and were introduced to our guide Michael Loney who is the Educational Officer for Parliament House. This room contains Aboriginal Art by indigenous artists from all over Western Australia. The view from this room looks down St. George’s Terrace.

After our initial introduction and afternoon tea we proceeded through the corridors of Parliament to the Library where the Hansard reporters gave us an insight into their work. They use stenography machines that translate their form of shorthand into the Hansard Report. Because the work is so intense, they work in ten minute shifts.

After leaving the Library we proceeded to the Upper House where the chairs are upholstered in red. This is the House of review where all the Bills are checked and approved. Nothing can become law until passed by this House.

We then went to the Lower House where the members here control the finances of the State. This room should be upholstered in green leather, but in Western Australia it is blue, and this occurs only in three other parliaments; Dublin, Belfast and Quebec. 

The government members sit on the right hand side of the speaker and the gold mace is placed at the front of the room and is a symbol to protect the speaker. The tour concluded in the foyer where a large black swan made up of different woods from this state is designed on the floor.

Although black swans occur all over Australia, it is used as our State symbol because the early Dutch explorers who were the first Europeans to land in Australia were amazed to see black swans. Their home country only had white swans and this was a very unique experience for our first settlers. This is where a rare event is sometimes referred to as “a black swan event”.

Guest Writer Eric Balzan

Photos of the interior of Parliament House were provided by the Parliament of Western Australia. The Group Photo was by Eric Balzan.