Colleen Hartland first stepped foot in Victoria's parliament as a kitchen hand.
It wasn't until 2006 she was allowed to walk in through the front door - as an MP.
The longstanding Greens member for the Western Metropolitan Region reflected on her jump from the kitchen to the chamber before leaving parliament for good on Thursday.
"(2006) wasn't actually my first time in this parliament because I had worked as a kitchen hand," she told her upper house colleagues.
"But when I first came back and I was allowed up the front stars."
Ms Hartland announced her retirement last month, citing exhaustion.
"I have run out of steam. This job takes 120 per cent and I don't have that anymore," she said on Thursday.
"I promise not to be one of the politicians who then snipes from the sidelines."
Ms Hartland listed Victoria's assisted-dying laws passed last year as a career highlight.
But she was politically active even as a child, handing out how to vote cards for the Labor Party with her parents.
It was the so-called Tampa affair in 2001 - where Australia refused entry to a Norwegian ship carrying more than 400 asylum seekers - that pushed her to join the Greens.
"At times I know that this place really feels painfully slow," she said.
"But then I remember, for me, 12 years ago there were no Greens members in the Victorian Parliament."
Now there are eight, including her replacement Huong Truong.
Ms Hartland's exit followed that of former party leader Greg Barber in September.
He was replaced by Northern Metropolitan MLC Samantha Ratnam.