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Senate Chamber Visitors Bench Seat #1999-0790Senate Chamber, North Wing, Main Floor

Blackwood curved bench seat; high back with fielded panels and moulded sides, fitted with an upholstered red leather cushion, on plain end supports.


This Senate Chamber visitor?s bench seat is still located in the Senate Chamber where it was used in the Provisional Parliament House between 1927 and 1988. This chair was designed in 1926 by the Federal Capital Commission Architects Department, led by principal architect John Smith Murdoch, specifically for Provisional Parliament House. Murdoch’s design for this chair and the other Chamber furniture was inspired by the Westminster system of Parliament and the green and red colours of the two Chambers reflect the colour scheme of the lower and upper houses in the British House of Commons. This chair was manufactured by Beard Watson and Co Ltd using blackwood and leather supplied by Howe Bros of Preston, Victoria.

This bench seat is located in one of the four floor galleries in the Senate Chamber. It is located in one of the two galleries at the back of the Chamber that were for visiting Members of the House of Representatives and guests of the Senators.

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Statement of values

This Senate Chamber visitors bench seat is a significant item of furniture through its association with the Senate Chamber. The Senate has outstanding significance as a venue for the debates, petitions and votes associated with sixty-one years of Australian legislature, and recognisable by its red upholstery. This bench seat was used in the Senate between 1927 and 1988, associating it with significant people in Australian political history, while also reflecting the formal and adversarial nature of debate, and the role of the Senate in the parliamentary process.

This Senate Chamber visitor?s bench seat 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.

  • Senate Chamber Visitors Bench SeatSenate Chamber Visitors Bench Seat —


Width 1825mm
Height 1025mm
Depth 425mm
Medium Blackwood; leather; timber; textile
Creator’s name Federal Capital Commission Architects Department
Date created Circa 1927