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Tongs #2001-0049Members’ Dining Room, Main Floor

Electroplated Nickel Silver (EPNS) sugar tongs with claw shaped ends and engraved with ‘CPRR’ (Commonwealth Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms).


These sugar tongs were used in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms in the Provisional Parliament House. They were manufactured by Stokes & Sons and are made of Electroplated Nickel Silver.

Crisp white tablecloths and sparkling silverware welcomed members and senators to their party’s particular tables in the Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms. Unlike in most Australian homes, waiters, and later waitresses, provided silver service. They served the politicians’ food from elegant silver platters directly onto their plates at the table.

Many impressive state occasions were held in the Members’ Dining Room. On these occasions, formal decorations reflected the nature of the event, and silver service and souvenir menus were the order of the day.

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These tongs are significant because of their association with the Member’s Dining Room. 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.

These scissors are significant as a component of the Heritage Collection, which comprises those objects 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, 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.


Width 25mm
Height 133mm
Depth 37mm
Medium Electroplated Nickel Silver (EPNS)
Creator’s name Stokes & Sons
Date created Unknown