Pedestal #2001-1493Press Office, North Wing, Upper floor
Maple smoker’s pedestal of square section, on a stepped base and with a detachable copper top and metal liner.
This pedestal ashtray 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 piece was built by one of the six firms (Myer Emporium Pty Ltd, Melbourne; Anthony Hordern and Sons, Sydney; A Pengelly and Co, Adelaide; W H Rocke and Co, Melbourne; Beard Watson & Co Ltd, Sydney; Bebarfalds Ltd, Sydney) that were contracted to construct Murdoch’s designs.
In the workplaces of the early twentieth century, when smoking was permitted in the workplace, ashtrays were an essential piece of office furniture. Peter Harvey, Seven News journalist said of working in the Press Gallery “It was incredibly overcrowded and back in those days everybody smoked like chimneys. Polluted, overcrowded, jam packed, a very intensive environment in the sense that everybody was on top of everybody else.”