Gold Rush

Melbourne and Victoria’s history is steeped in Gold. In 1851, gold was discovered in the surrounding areas and Melbourne was the nearest major city. In 3 years, the population of Melbourne went from 29,000 to over 120,000 people. It was absolute boom time, and the city prospered greatly. For this reason, they decided to build a new Treasury to hold all their lovely gold until it could be shipped off to England.

One problem though – it takes time for buildings of this mangitude to be built. By the time construction of what is now known as the Old Treasury building was finished, the gold rush was over. The numerous large vaults in the basement never held any gold.

They did have replicas of the two largest pieces of gold found in the area though.

But mostly I was just killing time. I was looking forward to exploring this building, situated near the Old Treasury Building.

The Victorian Parliament Building.

In the main foyer past security, there is a large statue to Queen Victoria. Apparently, one she didn’t like when it was finished, so she shipped it down here to Australia so she’d never have to see it.

The room that houses the Legislative Council. The upper house of the two house system employed by Victoria, the Legislative Council is the ‘house of review’ of the two houses. The Queen has a seat in the center set aside for her.

Considering how Victoria’s past has been flush with gold, it probably shouldn’t have been too surprising to see gold inlaid and painted everywhere here.

The library. Lots of books here, and lots of laws.

The Legislative Assembly, or lower house. This is the primary point for politics in Victoria. The Premier sits amongst the group here, and while both houses are elected officials, the Legislative Assembly is typically the house to start bills.

In the middle of both rooms sit numerous books holding all of the State Laws, within easy reach.

The speaker of the house can stop arguments and punish people that overstep their bounds in the Legislative Assembly, so he or she holds considerable power. To elect a Speaker, this hourglass (which only runs for a few minutes) is employed to start a vote. It all sounded like a chaotic process.

And that was about it for Parliament. It was a fun and interesting look at the workings of the government down here in Victoria.

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