Members’ Lounge — M518Main Floor
Room M518, or the Members’ Lounge, constitutes a central room of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms of Provisional Parliament House and was an integral part of the building’s early design and development. Located in the South wing of the building, it provided dining and recreation facilities for Members and Senators and hosted many casual meals and social events. The separate dining and bar facilities of the Refreshment Rooms were vital if the building was to be fully self-contained as originally intended and the variety of spaces reflect the stratification of various classes of occupants of the building. In its early life, women, kitchen and waiting staff, and senior officers such as the Clerks of the House of Representatives and the Senate, all had separate dining rooms.
Like much of Provisional Parliament House, room M518 was designed by the Commonwealth’s first government architect, John Smith Murdoch, and retains much of the same visual characteristics it had in 1927. In general, these early surviving interiors of the building reflect the austerity associated with the Inter War Stripped Classical style, and are generally simple spaces with little and subtle decoration.
Room M518 adjoins the Members Dining Room (M513) and the Members Bar along an east-west axis, and its location reflects its visual characteristics, as it is stylistically similar to room M513 but also employs features similar to the former billiard room and Members Bar. The finishes used in the Members Lounge are similar to room M513 with stained timber dado, painted render walls above, stained timber doors and windows, and a plaster ceiling suggestive of coffering. The room also features suspended stained timber uplights. However, the ceiling height is lower and features two decorative metal and glass skylights, similar to those in the former billiard room. In 1948 the lounge was refurbished for use as the Members’ visitor’s room and in 1983 the north wall was extended out in line with the verandah. The changes which were undertaken in the Members Lounge are not uncommon in the building and reflect its changing nature since it was opened in 1927.