Blackwood bin; angled base, with curved opening on top and front side completely open.
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This House of Representatives Chamber bin is still located in the House of Representatives Chamber where it was used in the Provisional Parliament House between 1927 and 1988. This bin was designed by the Federal Capital Commission Architects Department, led by principal architect John Smith Murdoch, specifically for Provisional Parliament House. Murdoch’s design for this bin 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 bin was manufactured by Beard Watson and Co Ltd using blackwood.
As a result of queries about the details of seating design from Committee members, the Public Works Committee requested that a sample seat and desk be made to enable members to comment on the design. Alterations were made accordingly on matters such as the location of inkwells, the widening of the depth of the seat, the alignment of a drawer underneath the seat and the installation of a receptacle for waste paper. Due to these recommendations, these chambers bins were installed under every desk in the Senate and House of Representatives Chambers.
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Statement of values
This House of Representatives Chamber bin 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 bin 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 bin 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.