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Waste Paper Box #1999-1323Furniture  ·  King’s Hall, North Wing, Main Floor

Maple waste paper box of tapering form with panelled sides and four bun feet.


This waste paper box 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. It 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. This piece demonstrates that even the smaller, less important pieces of furniture were carefully designed by Murdoch for the Provisional Parliament House. It is possible that its tapering shape consciously reflected the inverted taper of the two large chimneys at the rear of the building, also designed to carry waste.

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Statement of values

This waste paper box 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.

  • Waste Paper Box - Image from the Old Parliament House CollectionWaste Paper Box - Image from the Old Parliament House Collection
  • Waste Paper Box (plans) - Old Parliament House CollectionWaste Paper Box (plans) - Old Parliament House Collection


Width 327mm
Height 380mm
Depth 327mm
Medium Queensland maple; timber
Creator’s name John Smith Murdoch
Date created Circa 1927