Historical information

The chair’s turned legs and bowed, spindle back are typical characteristics of the popular ‘Douglas’ chair, which descends from the long evolutionary line of ‘Windsor’ style cottage chairs. Also known as ‘Captains’ chairs, they were made on a large scale in England, America and Australia from around the 1860s in various timbers, with seats ranging from heavy pine to cane and in later models, plywood. Australiana expert, Peter Cuffley writes that they were just as much a part of Australia’s frontier experience as they were America’s; Holtermans’ 1872 photographs of the New South Wales gold towns show Douglas chairs, and they appear in illustrations of the exploits of the Kelly gang drawn in the late 1870s. Many Australians now are more likely to associate them with public offices and governments departments’. The chairs met the need for a degree of comfort and tough resilience under rough handling on hard floors. The Cape Nelson chair is known to have been used as a visitor’s chair, presumably in the head keeper’s office. No other examples of nineteenth century style chairs survive among the reliably provenanced furnishings in the five other lightstation collections. The chair complements the lightstation’s nineteenth century office desk and small number of other nineteenth century furnishings in the wider Parks Victoria lightstation collection, the majority of which are domestic items.


The Douglas chair has first level contributory significance for its historical value and relative rarity as a lightstation office

Physical description

The chair has turned legs and bowed, spindle back .