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Settee #1999-0863Prime Minister’s Office, North Wing, Main Floor

Three-seater settee, upholstered in beige tweed wool with beige leather back, sides and base; with six fitted cushions, and piping around seams, on plinth base.


Photographs from the early 1970s show this settee was used in the Prime Minister?s office when Gough Whitlam was in office (1972 - 1975).

During the early 1970s acute accommodation shortages in the building necessitated a major phase of redevelopment in which extensions were made to the front west and east sections of the building, new offices constructed on the roof and a new wing on the Senate side erected to match the wing added on the Representatives side in 1965. This redevelopment included a new suite for the Prime Minister and his staff, a new President of the Senate’s suite and new meeting rooms on the lower floor. New furniture, such as this settee, was purchased to complement these new rooms.

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This settee is a significant item in the collection through its association with the Prime Minister’s suite which has strong and special associations for the former parliamentary users of the building and was also a focus of government activity and authority.

This settee is significant through its association with the extensions to the Provisional Parliament House, in particular the Prime Minister’s suite. Additions to the original collection, such as this settee, are significant in documenting important stages in the adaptation of the building to meet the ever increasing demands of accommodating more Members and their staff, a process which continued until the relocation of the Australian Parliament in 1988. Significantly, the extensive modifications to the building arose from combining the functions of the executive arm of government and the legislative function in the one building. This settee was used in the Prime Minister’s suite when Gough Whitlam was in office, associating it with this important person.

This settee 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.


Width 2115mm
Height 780mm
Depth 960mm
Medium Timber; wool; textile; leather
Creator’s name Unknown
Date created Circa 1970s