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Billiard Table #1999-1781Original Billiards Room, North Wing, Main Floor

Large rectangular timber edged slate top with green felt lining and six holes (three down each side) each with white netting pockets attached, with three metal hooks curving upwards on each side; on four turned legs.


This billiard table was used in the dining and recreation block in the South Wing of the Provisional Parliament House. The building was designed to be fully self-contained for two reasons: there were limited recreational facilities in Canberra when it was built; and many parliamentarians preferred to mix with their own kind when relaxing. The South Wing contained the recreational facilities (including billiard rooms, card rooms, dining rooms and bars). This billiard table exemplifies the recreational furniture and facilities provided to parliamentarians and press representatives during the long periods they spent in the building. Most of these facilities catered to male tastes, as all of the original parliamentarians to serve here were men. Women were not elected until 1943. The billiard table also provided an important opportunity for cross-party fraternisation, and at times was the locus of significant political plotting and manoeuvres, as for example when W.M. Hughes used a game of billiards in 1929 to divert another dissident government supporter from voting for the Bruce-Page government on a matter of confidence. The government fell for want of one vote on that occasion.

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Statement of values

This billiard table is significant because of its association with the recreation facilities in the South Wing. The dining and recreation facilities were an important part of the life of the building from 1927 to 1988. They reflect the intention to provide some measure of comfort for the building’s occupants, in compensation for long sitting hours and the long periods people would spend away from their homes. The facilities also played an important national role in hosting Royal visits, official State receptions and formal dinners for important guests.

This billiard table 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 Old Parliament House building has a richness of internal fabric and collections that convey the way in which parliamentary functions were conducted, the everyday use of the building, and the hierarchical nature of parliamentary staffing practices.

  • Billiard TableBilliard Table —


Width 3820mm
Height 860mm
Depth 2020mm
Medium Timber; felt; metal; textile; slate
Creator’s name Unknown
Date created Circa 1930s