Queensland Museum Furniture Collection



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A collection of silky oak furniture, including a table inlaid with the federation coat of arms, believed to have been given to Sir Leslie Wilson, Governor of Queensland. Notable local cabinet-makers represented include John Mason of Maryborough, as well as Lewis J. Harvey and Ed Rosenstengel of Brisbane. Examples of recycled, homemade furniture - kerosene crate and cotton-reel shelves are also represented. Queensland furniture from the 1820s was largely Classical in design. Useful rather than ornamental furniture was the first requirement, and much of Queensland Museum's collection, albeit mostly 20th century, reflects this earliest tendency to simplicity and pragmatism in design. The furnishings of the main rooms of Queenslander houses changed with the transition from the Colonial/Victorian era to Federation. Red cedar disappeared from fashion to be replaced by silky oak, Queensland maple, white cedar and stained pine. The timbers were often fumed with ammonia to enrich their colour to a warm brown.

Queensland Museum's collection of furniture and furniture catalogues reflects changes in Queensland's lifestyle and aspirations, with a particular focus on early to mid twentieth century Queensland cabinet-makers who used local timbers, and early twentieth century thrift furniture or 'making-do' furniture where common and cheap household materials were made into useful domestic articles. These homemade, recycled items were common in many pioneer households, and throughout Queensland during the 1890s and 1930s Depressions. Both approaches, while vastly different in style and cost, indicate resourcefulness and a want or need to use local materials to fashion the Queensland home.


Cabinet making; Depression furniture; Design; Timber


Coverage Spatial

Queensland, Australia

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2012-05-30 23:40