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.