INQUIRY BY WORKS COMMITTEE.
PROPOSED EXPENDITURE OF £74,051
The standing committee on Public works commenced an Inquiry yesterday regarding the expediency of carrying out a scheme for the remodelling of the Parliamentary Buildings,
Mr. W. J. Hanna, Under-Secretary, Depart- ment of Public Works, said.- The original portion of the existing building was erected in the time of Governor Macquarie - now closely approaching its century, so far as could be ascertained - for the purposes of a convict's hospital. In 1856, on the inauguration of re- sponsible government, the buildings wore adapted tor the purpose of the new Parlia- ment. The Colonial Architect was despatched to Melbourne, where he purchased an iron constructed building just imported, and in-
tended to be used as a lodging house to meet the requirements of the gold rush at that period. It was shipped to Syd- ney, erected where it now stands, and has been In the constant use of the Council ever since. For all practical purposes the proposals now submitted provide for a rebuilding on the area at present occupied. Its frontage to Macquarie-street is on the existing alignment, with the exception that the design falls in with the general scheme for improving Mac- quarie-street, and the new facade is approached from the proposed broad promenade by a flight of steps extending to the full extent of Its frontage, The design cannot be said to add very largely to the area of the existing ac- commodation, excepting that it includes two additional floors for office purposes, but it re- arranges and improves the accommodation both for the Council, its President and Ministers sitting in Council, its officials, "Hansard" staff, and attendants. It is claimed that It secures dignity to tho chamber, comfort to the mem- bers, and facilities for the transaction of busi-
The improvement to the Legislative As- sembly is necessarily not so extensive, but provision Is made for increased office space for theh officials and "Hansard" staff. The waiting rooms for members of both Houses are rebuilt, --also the postal and telegraph accommodation, and a main, spacious and lofty vestibule entrance under the central tower has.been included. Various details connected with the better accommodation of service for the refreshment room, and for the housing of attendants, and extensive fireproof rooms, in direct communication with the library, are provided to meet the re- quirements of the librarian, whose shelves are already overflowing.
The important matter of ventilation to the two chambers, and other rooms whore mem- bers congregate, is also dealt with.
As the whole of the front of the building in Macquarie-street is included in the re- building scheme, It has been possible to pre- pare a design controlled by but few circum- stances connected with the existing building Care, however, has been taken to preserve for historic purposes its well-known exter- nal features, and the design accordingly em- braces tho two flanking pavilions, indicative of-the two Legislative chambers, with the connecting colonnade with spacious central entrance to the building for the public. This composition, designed in Renaissance Italian of the best period, is emphasised and up- lifted by the central tower, containing a number of stories, and surmounted by a cupola-shaped dome rising to a total height of 132ft above the pavement level in Macquarie-street. The general height of the building Is necessarily guided by the limit of the height of the two chambers, but it is such as enables additional floors to be constructed behind the central frieze and cornice, and generally should add dignity to the group of important public buildings that may one day flank Macquarie-street The tower will become a prominent city object when viewed from most points of the har- hour. The external work, excepting the southern flank, is proposed to be carried out in Sydney sandstone, and the main flight of steps in stone obtained from the Purgatory quarry. Assuming one contract is let for the whole, but so arranged as to provide for requirements under No 4, I am of opinion the scheme can be carried out for an ap-
proximate sum of £74,051.