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Sound: the lobby at Parliament

Audio file

Francis Fisher, Member of Parliament between 1905 and 1914, remembers the lobby as the social hub of the old buildings.


The old Provincial Building had been added to quite considerably after the seat of government was removed from Auckland to Wellington. Some quite impressive features were incorporated in the new building, such as the chamber built to accommodate the House of Representatives and the Legislative Council. The huge lobby, which connected the two legislative chambers, was an imposing great hall. It was very long, wide and lofty and a great boon to Members of the House. On one side of this lobby, enormous fires were kept burning while the House was in session. Many doors led to many places of interest. At the western end, double doors led to the Legislative Council and all its offices. Another set of double doors led into the spacious Bellamy's, where, again, huge fires were always ablaze. On the southern side, doors led to various committee rooms and to the quaint and old-fashioned library, with its windows looking across Sydney Street and the spacious grounds of Government House beyond. And from the great lobby too, double doors opened into the lower chamber, the House of Representatives. In the lobby against the long wall opposite the blazing fires were long leather-covered benches, capable of seating seven or eight persons in a row. Sometimes when Members were in the mood – they were usually so during a stonewall – they would pull out these long benches, place them at right angles to the wall, and there they served as hurdles for the younger and more active Members. The lobby was always a great centre for conviviality, and many wrestling bouts and races took place there. The members of those days were good sorts and good sports. It was their marae where good fellowship prevailed.


Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Mr F.M.B. Fisher reminiscences, 1959. Reference no: TX37

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Sound: the lobby at Parliament, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated