Commonwealth Place comprises a grassed-cupped square of approximately 100 metres by 50 metres on the southern shore of Lake Burley Griffin in the Parliamentary Zone. It is a multi-use public space equally suitable for major events and family gatherings.
Centred on Griffin’s Land Axis, the design incorporates a walkway, linking Commonwealth Place to Reconciliation Place. The rear wall of the cupped square and the walls of the walkway are clad in Australian sandstone. The walkway is paved with Australian bluestone. The under croft spaces formed by the cupped square provide accommodation for the café/restaurant and office spaces.
A paved area, Speakers Square, a Centenary of Federation gift from the Canadian Government, provides a focal space for celebrations and ceremonies. A grove of trees, planted in the form of the Southern Cross provides shade on the western side of the square.
Commonwealth Place was designed by Durbach Block Architects, in association with Sue Barnsley Design. It was awarded the Australian Capital Territory Chapter of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Urban Award in 2003.
Commonwealth Place Forecourt
Commonwealth Place was completed in 2002. The initial works included new pavement up to the Parkes Place roadway but did not modify the area between the building and the edge of Lake Burley Griffin.
Centred on Griffin’s Land Axis, Commonwealth Place Forecourt enhances visitor use of the site by introducing a shared pedestrian zone and two jetties.
Commonwealth Place Forecourt increases the opportunity for recreational use of the lake, allowing small craft such as rowing sculls, yachts and dinghies to land easily from any direction. The jetties are constructed from recycled timber and recycled plastic was also used in construction.
The International Flag Display
The International Flag Display (the Display) in Canberra's Parliamentary Zone colorfully acknowledges the international presence in Australia's National Capital.
Originally launched in 1999, by the Governor General, the Hon Sir William Deane, the display has become an important attraction for tourists and locals alike. The Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government Dr John McVeigh opened a revitalised display 13 June 2018 which saw the addition of 10 additional flags.
The revitalised Display now consists of 110 flags in total, representing 108 Missions that have a diplomatic presence as well as flags for the European Union and the United Nations.
The diplomatic core has grown significantly in the nation’s capital since the 1930's. At the conclusion of the Second World War in 1945, 12 diplomatic missions were present in Canberra. Relationships fostered on the world stage have increased this number. Now part of the Capital landscape, the diplomatic estate has grown beyond Yarralumla to the suburbs of West Deakin and O’Malley.
The Display located along the shore of Lake Burley Griffin between the High Court and the National Library fly in two offset rows. The flags are flown continuously, 24 hours a day and are lit at night, casting a vivid reflection on the Lake. Each flag pole has a plaque at its base identifying the nation whose flag is flying from that pole.
The display is arguably the largest in the world and has become very popular. Many people take the opportunity to be photographed next to the flag of their country and or take a leisurely stroll amongst the poles.