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Telephone used by Bob Hawke #2001-0291-1Prime Minister’s Office, North Wing, Main Floor

Small cream plastic phone with attached handset, with 12 keypad buttons above four rows of six programmable keys on faux timber panelling.


This telephone was used by Prime Minister Bob Hawke in the Prime Minister’s office (M94.13) at the Provisional Parliament House. It was part of a set of phones donated to the museum by Neil Baker, who worked as a telephone technician at the building for nearly twenty years from the early 1970s to the late 1980s. During this period he collected telephones that he was asked to remove/replace in the building. These telephones range from the public ones used in the reception area to ones belonging to specific people. The museum also has the accompanying switchboard for this phone in its collection. Baker recalled that every incoming Prime Minister asked for two things as soon as he took over the office: for his desk to be moved and for a new phone. This at times created considerable cabling issues, as the extensions which created the new Prime Minister’s office in 1972-73 had limited capacity for cabling alterations: in the end he had the carpet taken up during one recess and holes drilled in the floor at one metre intervals.

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This telephone that was used by Bob Hawke is a significant item in the collection through its association with Hawke (1983-1991) and 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. Its design reflects the need for the Prime Minister of the day to be able to make immediate phone contact with his ministers, each of whom has a designated button.

This telephone is also significant as part of the collection of telephones donated to the museum by Neil Baker. This collection represents a significant survey of the types of technology used in the building over the period 1950s-80s. It is also significant as it illustrates working life in the Provisional Parliament House.

This telephone is 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.

  • Telephone and Telephone Extension used by Bob HawkeTelephone and Telephone Extension used by Bob Hawke —
  • Telephone used by Bob HawkeTelephone used by Bob Hawke —


Width 195mm
Height 105mm
Depth 210mm
Medium Plastic; electrical components; metal
Creator’s name Telecom Commander
Date created Unknown