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Library Octagonal Table #2001-1047Furniture  ·  Parliamentary Library, North Wing, Main Floor

Octagonal wooden reading table with moulded edge and fielded apron; central octagonal void for floor radiator; base panels inset with cast brass grilles, seven of which are fixed and one swung on hinges with a pendant catch; the table comprises two interlocking parts.

History

This table was initially located in the Parliamentary Library where it was used in the Provisional Parliament House between 1927 and 1988. It 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 table was constructed out of blackwood and had a hollow centre surrounded by bronze grills. A floor radiator was placed in this centre to warm Members reading at the table.

This table was one of two large octagonal tables that occupied the first room in the Parliamentary Library and was originally surmounted by a calendar unit. The room was dedicated to newspapers and periodicals and these two tables, along with numerous newspaper reading slopes, were placed here to display these publications.

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Statement of values

This library table is significant as it is one of only two of this design to have been made.

This table is a significant item of furniture through its association with the Parliamentary Library. The design of the building and its layout, its curtilage and its interior rooms all demonstrate the customs and functions of the Commonwealth Parliament. This table was used in the Parliamentary Library which, as demonstrated by its position within the building (particularly in relation to King’s Hall and the Chambers), held an important function for Parliament.

This library 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 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.

  • Library Octagonal Table (then) - Image from the Old Parliament House CollectionLibrary Octagonal Table (then) - Image from the Old Parliament House Collection
  • Library Octagonal Table - Image from the Old Parliament House CollectionLibrary Octagonal Table - Image from the Old Parliament House Collection
  • Library Octagonal Table (plans) - Old Parliament House CollectionLibrary Octagonal Table (plans) - Old Parliament House Collection

Details

Width 1890mm
Height 790mm
Depth 1890mm
Medium Blackwood; cast brass
Creator’s name John Smith Murdoch
Date created Circa 1927