Dining Room, Speaker of the House of Representatives’ Suite — M83North Wing, Main Floor
This dining room was part of a suite of rooms that was occupied by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and his staff throughout the time the building operated as a working parliament. Many important politicians occupied this suite including the first Speaker at the Provisional Parliament House, Sir Littleton Groom (1926 to 1929), and Joan Child (1986 to 1989) who was the first female Speaker and the last Speaker at the Provisional Parliament House. The Speaker’s most important duty was to preside over and maintain control of debate in the House of Representatives Chamber. Outside the Chamber the Speaker managed the Provisional Parliament House together with the President of the Senate; their large corner suites reflect the status of the two presiding officers. This suite includes offices (for the Speaker and his staff), a dining room, bar, sitting room and bathroom.
Room M83 was originally three separate rooms: a dressing room, a store room and a messenger’s room. By 1965 the wall between the store room was removed, enlarging the dressing room. In February, 1977, the dressing room and messenger’s room were converted into a dining room. This change was requested by Sir Billy Snedden (Speaker from 1976 to 1983), with the aim of upgrading the suite to the same level as the President of the Senate’s suite. The Speaker and the President of the Senate both receive foreign Heads of State and delegations visiting Australia from other nations, and other distinguished visitors to the House of Representatives or Senate. Hospitality for these events is one aspect of the responsibilities of the Speaker’s office. This dining room, and the adjoining sitting room and bar, assisted the Speaker in performing these duties.