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Legislative Assembly Chamber

Legislative Assembly Chamber

At the top of the staircase on the first level, the Members' Reading Room separates the two legislative chambers.  The chambers occupy the first and second storeys.  On the left hand side lies the Legislative Assembly Chamber.

The traditionally green-coloured Legislative Assembly Chamber was used for the first time on Tuesday 4th August 1868, before the building was completed.  Even barely finished, the chamber impressed visitors. At 24.5m by 11m high, the chamber must have been even more impressive then, when there were only 26 Members of Parliament. 

Its large size was designed to accommodate a hot climate and the expected increase in Members that would inevitably occur over time.

In earlier days, the chamber held central tables of yellowwood and Members sat on leather covered benches without desks. The Speaker had an ornate yellowwood desk which is still used today. The furniture was made by John Petrie's firm. The floor was covered with coir matting woven by prisoners in Sydney's Darlinghurst Gaol. Visitors and reporters watched proceedings from the galleries on the second floor of the building.  

Today, the chamber has more modern furniture although sympathetic with the original décor.  Services such as airconditioning, closed circuit television and communication equipment are discreetly installed in furniture which preserves the ambience of yesteryear.  Members have separate seating and desks.  Parliamentary officers, such as the Clerk, sit at the original central table upon which the mace is placed.  The Government and Opposition sit facing each other in a U-shaped pattern.  Presiding over the proceedings is the Speaker who sits on a raised dais.

The principal colour of the Legislative Assembly is green because this is the distinguishing colour of the Lower Houses in Westminster Parliaments and the colour of the House of Commons in England. Although a variety of accounts exist for the original Westminster use of the colour green, the definitive reason for its selection has been lost in time.