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House of Representatives Chamber Armchair #1999-0470House of Representatives Chamber, North Wing, Main Floor

Maple armchair with a square back, arms and seat, upholstered in green leather; with plain aprons and crested square section tapering legs on castors (added later).


This House of Representatives Chamber armchair is still located in the House of Representatives Chamber where it was used in the Provisional Parliament House between 1927 and 1988. This chair was designed in 1927 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 Queensland maple and leather supplied by Howe Bros of Preston, Victoria.

This chair was one of three armchairs that were placed at the head of the central table (1999-0429) in the Chamber. The armchair in the centre, used by the Chairman of Committees (1999-0471), was very similar in design to this one but was slightly higher and had a drawer built underneath the seat. This chamber armchair is one of two of this design that were placed on either side of the Chairman of Committees and were used by the Clerk and the Deputy Clerk.

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Statement of values

This House of Representatives Chamber armchair is a significant item of furniture through its association with the House of Representatives Chamber. The House of Representatives has outstanding significance as a venue for the debates, petitions and votes associated with sixty-one years of Australian legislature, and recognisable by its green upholstery. This armchair was used in the House of Representatives 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 House of Representatives in the parliamentary process.

This House of Representatives Chamber armchair 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.

  • House of Representatives Chamber ArmchairHouse of Representatives Chamber Armchair —
  • House of Representatives Chamber Armchair - Plan (page 1)House of Representatives Chamber Armchair - Plan (page 1) —
  • House of Representatives Chamber Armchair - Plan (page 2)House of Representatives Chamber Armchair - Plan (page 2) —


Width 710mm
Height 950mm
Depth 580mm
Medium Queensland maple; timber; leather; textile; metal
Creator’s name Federal Capital Commission Architects Department
Date created 1927