South Australia’s Parliament House, one of Adelaide’s most imposing buildings on the north-west corner of North Terrace and King William Road, was the object of bitter debate and wrangling during its planning and construction.
Between 1872 and 1886 arguments raged over the site, and designs (originally provided by E.W. Wright and Lloyd Taylor of Melbourne) were modified until finally the Government Architect-in-Chief, E. J. Woods, was asked to supervise construction by the Kapunda Marble and Building Company, using marble from Kapunda for walls and granite from West Island near Victor Harbor for the base.
Another disagreement caused a temporary halt and led to J. Shaw and Company completing the first stage, which was opened on 5 June 1889.
In 1936 Sir J. Langdon Bonython donated £100,000 for the second stage, which included the central and eastern sections, and these were opened on 5 June 1939. Plans for this stage included a central dome, but the money ran out before it could be built.
Ten Corinthian columns were built in the portico instead of six, and these, with two curved sets of steps, today form part of the North Terrace facade of Parliament House.
Today, visitors are welcome whenever parliament is sitting or they may take advantage of free tours which are available on non-sitting weekdays at 10am and 2pm. Question Time is a popular highlight at 2pm on sitting days.
Current status and listings
Eastern Wing 1934-1939 - The gift of £100 000 by Sir Langdon Bonython enabled the completion of the East Wing in the 1930’s, fifty years after the completion of the West Wing.