Historical information

The two identical bookcases probably date to the 1960s-70s period and retain their original light wood finish. They contain two adjustable shelves as well as the base shelf and stand on four legs braced by a stretcher extending across the front and around the sides. The bracing and the angled slightly curved front legs, which do not align with corners of the cabinet, produce the appearance of a box resting on a separate frame. These modern style bookshelves are examples of the low-cost furnishings that the Commonwealth Lighthouse Service (CLS) introduced to Australian lightstations in the post-war years. Most notably, it commissioned a number of light, compact and functional items in bulk from émigré designer, Steven Kalmar (1909-1989), who played a significant role in popularising modernist design concepts in Australia and drew his ideas from Scandinavian and American design trends. Born in Hungary, he trained as an architect and his contemporary affordable furnishings were especially suitable for the open-plan houses being built in Australia’s new post-war suburbs. It is not known whether the bookcases bear the Kalmar label, but the design, particularly the legs and bar bracing, is a signature style of his Sydney-based firm,
Kalmar Interiors. The CLS supplied the same bookshelves to a number of other lightstations, including Cape Nelson (3 examples), Cape Otway and Gabo Island (2 examples), as well as other types of furnishings such as tables and nests of coffee tables, cabinets, drawers, bedside tables. The Point Hicks bookcases original function was more likely office-related rather than domestic.


The bookcases have first level contributory significance for their provenance and historic value as examples of the modernist furnishings that the Sydney-based firm, Kalmar Interiors supplied to the Commonwealth Lighthouse Service in the post-war years.

Physical description

Two bookcases in the Scandinavian style. Each have 3 internal shelves and four legs, light coloured wood.