Whilst driving around the Parliamentary Triangle trying to find my way, I have often driven past Magna Carta Place and wondered what it was. The grassy reserve and monument is situated at the T-Junction as you drive into the Parliamentary Triangle from Commonwealth Avenue. After a visit to the Pork Barrel Café across the road, it was the perfect excuse stay longer and learn more about this intriguing monument.
The Magna Carta Monument was a gift to the people of Australia from the British Government to commemorate the centenary of Federation of Australia. It was opened in 1997 on the 700th anniversary of the sealing of the 1297 issue of the Magna Carta by King Edward the Ist.
The Magna Carta is the document originally written by King Edward 1st in 1215 which is the basis on Australia's law today. It is one of the most celebrated documents in English history and the laws relate to the liberty and rights of citizens.
There is an original copy of the later 1297 version of the Magna Carta in Parliament House for viewing. It was purchased from the King's School, Somerset in 1952 for £12500 and is now seen as priceless.
The monument itself was designed by a Canberra based architect and has significance in each aspect of its design. The mound behind the monument is intended to represent the ancient burial mounds of the English countryside. It then shows the mound cut open and its treasures "unburied" to reveal the pavilion and its foundation stone "representative of Magna Carta as a symbolic treasure of humanity".
The monument itself is an interesting dome as you walk inside of it. If you stand on the central dome, your voice and footsteps echo due to the high metal dome roof above. In the centre of the Pavilion is the foundation stone, under which is buried a time capsule to be opened in 2101.
Magna Carta Place is a fascinating attraction to visit if you have an interest in the Magna Carta and its' history. If you park your car to explore the Old Parliament House Rose Gardens or have a bite to eat at Pork Barrel Café, this park is walking distance from both so you can include it in your stop.
With so much to see in the Parliamentary Triangle, this is one of many sites to visit whilst exploring the landmarks of Canberra. For kids, the monument makes a great stage to put on a show with perfect acoustics for singing.
Listening to their echo inside the monument will also be a great source of entertainment for some time...