Former Queen’s Room — M13.4North Wing, Main Floor
The Queen’s Room was formerly part of the President of the Senate’s suite and was used as a sitting room before the extension gave the President a larger suite in 1973. While still part of the suite, it was used by the Governor-General as a private room during openings of Parliament, and as such was made available to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on her visit to open Parliament in 1954.
The President is the Presiding Officer in the Senate and is elected in a secret ballot by fellow Senators. Presiding Officers in each chamber are responsible for managing proceedings, maintaining order in the Senate and upholding the Standing Orders. Later on this area was used for other purposes including as a reception area for the extended President of the Senate’s suite and also to house a small telephone switchboard.
On the third of February 1954 the recently crowned Queen became the first reigning monarch to visit Australia. Accompanied by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, she travelled extensively around the country and visited every capital city (except Darwin) and 70 country towns during her eight-week tour. It is estimated that approximately 75% of the population saw the Queen at least once during her trip. Her visit also marked an important event for Provisional Parliament House when Queen Elizabeth II became the first reigning monarch to open our parliament. During her five day trip to Canberra the Queen attended various functions and events at Provisional Parliament House including the State banquet and State ball held in her honour and the opening of the third session of the 20th National Parliament. This room was redecorated and allocated as a space where the Queen could enjoy some privacy. Furniture was purchased specifically for the occasion, including a three piece wing-back lounge suite and a dressing table and stool.