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Hat Tree #2002-1104Press Office, North Wing, Upper floor

Maple coat stand with single square section tapering column on a platform base, with four brass coat hooks.


This hat tree 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 hat tree was manufactured by one of the six firms that were contracted to construct Murdoch’s designs (Myer Emporium Pty Ltd, Anthony Hordern and Sons, A Pengelly and Co, W H Rocke and Co, Beard Watson & Co, and Bebarfalds Ltd). Murdoch’s style is described as ‘Stripped Classical’ and this piece exemplifies this style with its clean lines and limited decorative features. This hat tree has been used in a variety of capacities throughout the building.

In the male dominated workplaces of the early twentieth century, when hats were an essential part of everyday costume, hat trees were an essential piece of office furniture.

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This hat tree is significant as one of only two known pieces of this design to have survived.

This hat tree 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 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.


Width 385mm
Height 1870mm
Depth 385mm
Medium Maple; timber; brass
Creator’s name Federal Capital Commission Architects Department
Date created 1926