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Staff Office, Prime Minister’s Suite — M94.10North Wing, Main Floor

This room was used as an office for staff in the Prime Minister’s suite.

This room is situated in the northeast corner of the Provisional Parliament House, an area that was occupied by the Prime Minister and his staff throughout the life span of the building. The original suite of rooms was occupied by fourteen of the Australian Prime Ministers, from Stanley Melbourne Bruce (Prime Minister from 1923-1929) to William McMahon (Prime Minister from 1971-1972). In 1972, due to a growing number of Ministers and staff in the building, the suite was demolished. New offices (for the Prime Minister and his staff), an anteroom (used for press conferences and as a waiting room) and bathrooms for the Prime Minister and his staff were built in its place. These particular rooms were only occupied by three Prime Ministers: Gough Whitlam (Prime Minister from 1972-1975), Malcolm Fraser (Prime Minister from 1975-1983) and Bob Hawke (Prime Minister from 1983-1991).

Despite the extra space in the new, larger suite, there was a large number of staff that needed to work in this area and still only limited space. While it is evident that many of the small offices in this suite accommodated more than one employee, plans suggest this room did not.

The four small offices close to the Cabinet room (M94.8, M94.9, M94.10 and M94.15) were all used by staff who worked for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C). This particular room was used by the Secretary of PM&C who needed to be close to the Prime Minister’s office and the Cabinet room, two of the most important spaces in the building. The Secretary often attended Cabinet meetings as the principal note taker, and also often needed to see the Prime Minister. This office was available for use between meetings at the Provisional Parliament House, but most of the time he worked in his office back at the Department. This office was also utilised as a stationery storeroom: the built-in cupboards (with labels attached detailing where stationary was stored) remain in this room.