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Brown leather armchair associated with Ben Chifley

Brown leather armchair associated with Ben Chifley

Object type

Object number

A brown leather arm chair with rolled arms, deep cushioned seat, back studding and short wooden legs. The padded rolled arms feature piping around the top front edge and brass tacking on the front ends. The seat is padded with horsehair and fits snugly into the frame of the chair. The inner back has a padding of horse hair covered with hessian and flock padding (possibly cotton waste). The hessian has been sewn down tightly to produce a scroll shape at the sides. The back of the chair is covered with a rectangle of leather attached to the frame with tacks. The bottom edge of the chair has a thin strip of leather and brass tacks around it. The feet of the chair are wooden blocks. The front two feet have right angle sections carved out at each corner. The back feet are plain. The chair has large tears in the seat. It also has holes in the seat and the left hand arm some of which may be cigarette burns. The leather has come away from the left hand side of the back and the exposed hessian is wearing thin. The right hand back foot has lost the back side of the wood exposing the nails attaching the foot to the chair. There are darkened patches on the inner back and sides of the chair.

Collection name
Ben Chifley collection no. 2

Collection statement of significance
The Ben Chifley collection No. 2 consists of a single seated, leather-covered club chair, believed to be used by the former Prime Minister, Joseph Benedict (Ben) Chifley, at the Hotel Kurrajong between 1945 and 1949. The chair is upholstered in tanned leather and is button-backed with brass studs. The chair is believed to have been reserved for Chifley's exclusive use at the Hotel Kurrajong, in which he enjoyed his passion of reading.

Ben Chifley was Australia's 16th Prime Minister, and is recognised as one of the most influential of Australian Prime Ministers. He has legendary status in the Australian labour movement. Chifley was a committed centralist. As Prime Minister he introduced national projects such as the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric scheme and the assisted immigration program. He also pushed through legislation that enabled the Commonwealth to become the collector of income tax and sought nationalisation of the private banks so that the federal government could have more control over the economy.

Mr Joseph B. Chifley

Place of use
Barton, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

Leather, Metal - non specific, Horse hair, Flock, Wood, Hessian

Width: 1010mm
Height: 923mm
Depth: 930mm

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