Skip to the content
Content starts here

Card Room Chair #1999-1719

Blackwood card room chair; top rail and front edge of seat have canted edges in both the timber and leather; grey leather padded back and drop in seat, on angled front legs with incised lines and brass capped feet, with tapering square section back legs.

History

This card room chair was used in the dining and recreation block in the South Wing of the Provisional Parliament House. The building was designed to be fully self-contained for two reasons: there were limited recreational facilities in Canberra when it was built; and many parliamentarians preferred to mix with their own kind when relaxing. The South Wing contained recreational facilities including billiards rooms, card rooms, dining rooms and bars. This chair would have been used in the card rooms along with card and chess tables. This chair exemplifies the recreational furniture and facilities provided to parliamentarians and press representatives during the long periods they spent in the building. Most of these facilities catered to male tastes, as all of the original parliamentarians to serve here were men. Women were not elected until 1943. The recreational facilities also provided an important opportunity for cross-party fraternisation, and at times was the locus of significant political plotting and manoeuvres. In 1929, for example, W M Hughes used a game of billiards to divert another dissident government supporter from voting for the Bruce-Page government on a matter of confidence. The government fell for want of one vote on that occasion.

Show Statement of values
Hide Statement of values

Statement of values

This card room chair is significant because of its association with the recreation facilities in the South Wing. The dining and recreation facilities were an important part of the life of the building from 1927 to 1988. They reflect the intention to provide some measure of comfort for the building’s occupants, in compensation for long sitting hours and the long periods people would spend away from their homes. The facilities also played an important national role in hosting Royal visits, official State receptions and formal dinners for important guests.

This card room chair 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 building, and with the individuals who governed Australia between 1927 and 1988. The Old Parliament House building has a richness of internal fabric and collections that convey the way in which parliamentary functions were conducted, the everyday use of the building, and the hierarchical nature of parliamentary staffing practices.

Details

Width 470mm
Height 870mm
Depth 480mm
Medium Blackwood; timber; leather; textile; metal
Creator’s name Federal Capital Commission Architects Department
Date created 1926