Dining room chair
Plain, functional and designed specifically for Parliament House.
These chairs were designed for the dining room of Parliament House. This is just one of the 267 dining chairs in our collection that were designed specifically by the Architects Department of the Federal Capital Commission – a group of draftsmen led by principal architect John Smith Murdoch.
When the newly built chairs arrived, they were despatched to the dining and recreation rooms used by parliamentarians, guests and staff in the south-wing of Parliament House – collectively known as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms.
Used for Royal visits, State Receptions and formal dinners
The chairs were immediately pressed into service for the State Luncheon on the day the building was officially opened, 9 May 1927, when the Duke and Duchess of York and guests enjoyed a three-course lunch prepared by the Parliament House chefs.
Technical drawing of the dining room chairs for Parliament House prepared by the Architects Department, Federal Capital Commission, 1926
Hundreds of dining chairs were hand-crafted for the Members’ Dining Rooms and other areas in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms, 1927 Credit: Photograph by William J Mildenhall/National Archives of Australia A3560, 3423
The Refreshment Rooms and these dining chairs also hosted other Royal visits, State Receptions and formal dinners including the State Banquet in 1954 for the Royal tour and the 50th birthday celebration for Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser in 1980.
US General Douglas MacArthur, centre in a light-coloured uniform, visited Parliament House on 26 March 1942 for meetings and stayed on for a meal in the Members’ Dining Room. Credit: Photograph courtesy of Joy Hoffman /Museum of Australian Democracy Collection
Commonwealth Parliamentary Refreshment Room staff before a dinner celebrating 50 years since Federation in the Members’ Dining Room, 1951 Credit: Photograph courtesy of Joan Frost /Museum of Australian Democracy Collection