Parliament House

Legislative Council Chamber

The Legislative Council Chamber was finished in November 1856. It was built in nine months by 400 labourers.

Why the Chamber is red

Red is the main colour used for all furniture and fabric in the Chamber. It reflects the traditions of the United Kingdom’s House of Lords. Red is a symbol of royalty and nobility, and the House of Lords was where the King or Queen would meet with nobles.

The Legislative Council chamber, as seen facing east.


Eight figures line the ceiling. Each represents a concept important to Victoria:

  • Justice is holding scales and a sword.
  • Mercy is putting away a sword. 
  • Architecture is holding an open ledger and compass. 
  • Fame (or glory) is playing a trumpet. 
  • Wisdom is wearing a plumed helmet.
  • Unity is holding a linked chain. Originally she was called Liberty, as the chain was broken. 
  • History (or truth) is holding an open book and pen.
  • Plenty (or abundance) is holding a cornucopia overflowing with fruit.  

The statues are shown in the order listed above, clockwise from top left. 

Shown clockwise from top left: Justice, Mercy, Architecture, Fame, Wisdom, Unity, History, Plenty.

The vice-regal chair

At the head of the Chamber there is a chair with a canopy above it. This is known as the vice-regal chair. It is reserved for only the Governor of Victoria or the King.

The Governor of Victoria is the King’s representative. As such, she sits in the vice-regal chair to meet with members of Parliament in the Council. This happens during the opening of Parliament ceremony every four years. 

The canopy is painted with gold leaf topped with a crown, lion and unicorn. 

The crown represents the King, while the lion is the national animal of England and the unicorn is the national animal of Scotland.  

The vice regal canopy, showing the lion, unicorn and crown.

Viewing galleries

There are viewing balconies along the four walls of the Chamber, called galleries. On a usual sitting day the media use the gallery above the Governor’s chair, while the public sit on the opposite side.

The Chamber is designed to hold 650 people. During the opening of Parliament members of both chambers, plus guests, meet in the Council Chamber to hear the Governor’s speech. 

Other features

The walls and ceiling are decorated with 23.5-carat gold leaf.

A carved gate near the entrance to the Chamber is called ‘the bar’. No visitor may pass this point unless authorised by the Legislative Council.

The ceiling features 15 large plaster ceiling roses, which are variations of the Tudor Rose, the national flower of England.

The ceiling of the Legislative Council.

Two plaster eagles sit at either end of the chamber, believed to represent Queen Victoria's German ancestry.

One of the plaster eagles overlooking the Legislative Council.