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Day Bed #1999-0928

Maple bench settee with sprung and padded back and seat upholstered in green leather; plain arms with moulded edges and fielded decorated fronts, leather inserts tacked to inner and outer arms; backrest folds down to horizontal orientation; fielded decorated apron on a block platform base.


This day bed was designed in 1926 by the Architects Department of the Federal Capital Commission, led by principal architect John Smith Murdoch, specifically for Provisional Parliament House. This piece was built by one of the six firms (Myer Emporium Pty Ltd, Melbourne; Anthony Hordern and Sons, Sydney; A Pengelly and Co, Adelaide; W H Rocke and Co, Melbourne; Beard Watson & Co Ltd, Sydney; Bebarfalds Ltd, Sydney) that were contracted to construct Murdoch’s designs. It is made of Queensland maple and green leather for the House of Representatives.

This day bed reflects the needs of those working in Provisional Parliament House. Consideration was given to the displacement of parliamentarians and Senators from their homes and the long hours they spent at the House. Murdoch designed this piece of furniture so that, with the release of two catches on the rear, the back could be laid flat and the settee turned into a bed.

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Statement of values

This day bed is significant as a component of the Heritage Collection, which comprises those pieces of furniture which were used in the Provisional Parliament House between 1924 and 1988. The collection has associations with the process of government, the ceremonial, administrative, promotional and recreational functions conducted within the House, and with the individuals who governed Australia between 1927 and 1988. The building is a primary example of the Inter War Stripped Classical style of architecture prominent in Canberra’s government architecture of the 1920s to 1940s. The characteristic expression of the building’s style is due to the design work of the Commonwealth’s first government architect, John Smith Murdoch. The Old Parliament House building has a richness of internal fabric and collections, which include the purpose designed furniture and furnishings, that convey the way in which parliamentary functions were conducted, the everyday use of the building, and the hierarchical nature of parliamentary staffing practices. This furniture is significant as it has remained within the building for which it was designed.

  • Day Bed - Image from the Old Parliament House CollectionDay Bed - Image from the Old Parliament House Collection


Width 2115mm
Height 855mm
Depth 860mm
Medium Queensland maple; timber; leather
Creator’s name John Smith Murdoch
Date created Circa 1927