The Chairman of Committee’s maple armchair with a square back, arms and seat, upholstered in green leather; over a raised platform base containing a single side drawer with a wooden drawer pull and brass lock, moulded stretchers and crested square section tapering legs on later added castors.
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The Chairman of Committee’s chair is still located in the House of Representatives Chamber where it was used by the Deputy Speaker in the Provisional Parliament House between 1927 and 1988. The chair 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. 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. The Chairman of Committee’s chair was manufactured by Beard Watson and Co Ltd using Queensland maple and leather supplied by Howe Bros of Preston, Victoria.
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Statement of values
The Chairman of Committee’s chair 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. The chair 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.
The Chairman of Committee’s 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 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.