Australian Historical Art Fund & Heritage Government Residences

The Yarralumla Cabinet

By Geoffrey Hannah, (born 1948), Lismore NSW
Queensland Maple Marquetry Collector's Cabinet
Height 184cm Width 150cm Depth 51 cm

The style of this cabinet is derived from the ‘cabinet-on-stand’, popular in the 17th century. Over 22 different timbers from all over the world are represented in the Australian flora and fauna doors, and in the construction of the sixty four drawers inside. 10 native Australian woods are used and all the timbers are employed in their natural colours without dyes or stains, any graduation in the colour is achieved by burnishing the timber in hot sand. The decoration includes native orchids, Christmas bushes, flannel flowers, eucalypt leaves, native birds and sugar gliders.. There are a number of secret compartments and quirky motifs concealed behind the drawers ......

Click on this link below to take a tour through this beautiful cabinet with master craftsman Geoff Hannah. Also known as "Dad's Cabinet" in memory of his late father, David Hannah.  


The Duke of Gloucester's Desk, 1935

H. Goldman Limited, Melbourne
Blackwood and Specimen Wood
carvings attrib. to Robert Prenzel
Height 76cm Width 152cm Depth 89 cm

Silver plaque in central drawer inscribed:
“Their Royal Highnesses/The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester/from the/Commonwealth of Australia/with every good wish./6th Nov. 1935”
This desk was presented to the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester by the Right Honourable Earle Page, M.P. as a wedding gift on behalf of the Commonwealth Government of Australia following his marriage to Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott on November 6th 1935. It is documented in a contemporary newspaper article to have cost 'about £100'.  The intricately carved gum leaf feet and gum nut drawer handles are typical of Prussian born master carver Robert Prenzel (1866-1941). Prenzel's ledger lists work done for Goldman Ltd., between 1917-1925 with only a few mentions of work in the 1930s, as the records are incomplete the details on this desk can only be attributed to him.


Campaign Secretaire

Alexander William Norton (c.1827–1907)
Cedar and rose mahogany
Provenance Sir Henry Parkes
Height 113.5 x depth 52 x width 116cm

This campaign secretaire belonged to Sir Henry Parkes. Known as the Father of Federation, Parkes (1815-1896), dedicated himself to the lengthy campaign of the Federation of Australian States, which upon his death was taken up by Edmund Barton, and finally achieved within five further years.

Parkes was a key rival of the established conservative leadership. He was elected to the NSW Parliament in 1856 and was Premier five times between 1872 and 1891. He was a strong advocate for: the cessation of transportation; better education facilities, including those for the destitute; improving hospitals; a cohesive training of nurses. Deakin wrote, ‘…his personality was massive, durable and imposing…a large-brained self-educated Titan whose natural field was found in Parliament and whose resources of character and intellect enabled him in his later years to overshadow all his contemporaries.’  


Breakfront Wardrobe, 2008

Khai Liew (b 1952-) South Australia
Rose Mahogany and terracotta
Height 236cm, Width 285 cm, Depth 69 cm (Depth of breakfront 8cm)

Commissioned for the principal bedroom in Admiralty House from the highly original and celebrated contemporary Australian cabinetmaker Khai Liew, this stylish wardrobe bears the Vice Regal cipher created in collaboration with Australian ceramicist Bruce Nuske.

Inspired by the facets of a jewel and intended to capture the changing light within the room, this extraordinary, contemporary wardrobe has Liew’s signature simple straight lines and sense of geometry with the sculptural qualities in the panelled design. His work follows diverse historical and cultural influences that include: Colonial Australian furniture; the ancient cultures of Egypt, Greece and China; the English Arts and Crafts Movement. Liew has merged all his influences – old and new, to create harmonious yet high quality functional pieces that resonate with the diverse background of today’s Australians.


Pair of Gothic Bookcases, c.1845

Joseph Sly, (1802 - 1887)
Width: 122.5cm Height: 294.5cm Depth: 49cm

These Gothic style bookcases were produced by the workshop of Joseph Sly of Sydney and are considered to be his best works. The bookcases are also considered to be perhaps the finest examples of Australian colonial cabinet making.


This selection represents a small sample of our collection. Our book detailing the collection is currently out of print.
An updated edition has been published in 2017.
take a look