Now the home of the Victorian Parliament, this monument to Victorian (as in Queen Victoria) architecture at the top of a run of sandstone steps was built in 1856. During the Australian Federation (1900–1927), it was used as the national parliament. When the state government is in session—generally on Tuesday afternoon and all day Wednesday and Thursday between March and July, and again between August and November (there’s a break between sessions)—you can view the proceedings from the public gallery. However, you should ring ahead or check the website, as sitting times do vary. During non-sitting times, both the opulent Upper House and the less ornate Lower House chambers are open to the public by guided tour. Free architecture tours are held at 2pm on the last Friday of each month (bookings essential).