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Writing Desk #2001-1226

Maple writing desk; plain top over a panelled apron, resting on two pedestals with panelled front, back and sides, each pedestal has a drawer over a cupboard on the front side.

History

This writing desk was designed in 1926 by the Federal Capital Commission Architects Department, led by principal architect John Smith Murdoch, specifically for Provisional Parliament House. This desk was manufactured by one of the six firms that were contracted to construct Murdoch’s designs (Myer Emporium Pty Ltd, Anthony Hordern and Sons, A Pengelly and Co, W H Rocke and Co, Beard Watson & Co, and Bebarfalds Ltd).

Furniture plans, and minor holes on the top surface of the table, indicate there was originally a stationery rack attached to the top.

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Statement of values

This writing desk 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 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.

Details

Width 1460mm
Height 770mm
Depth 840mm
Medium Maple; timber; metal
Creator’s name Federal Capital Commission Architects Department
Date created 1926