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Bookcase #1999-1499Senate Government Party Room, North Wing, Main Floor

Maple breakfront bookcase with a Palladian arch pediment over three bookcase cupboards; the central cupboard is enclosed by three doors, the outer cupboards by two doors; the upper cupboards with glazed doors and brass astragals; the base with panelled maple doors; set on a platform base.


This bookcase 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. This piece 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.

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Statement of values

This bookcase is significant as the only one of this design to have survived.

This bookcase 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.

  • Bookcase - Image from the Old Parliament House CollectionBookcase - Image from the Old Parliament House Collection


Width 3800mm
Height 2320mm
Depth 410mm
Medium Queensland maple; timber; brass
Creator’s name John Smith Murdoch
Date created Circa 1927