Although they are not especially grand, these houses are arguably the most significant in the country. The four official residences of the Commonwealth – Government House and The Lodge in Canberra, Admiralty House and Kirribilli House in Sydney – certainly make a handsome group. As well as housing the G-G and the PM, they contain splendid furniture and decorative objects which are the collection of The Australiana Fund. With the encouragement of Mrs Tamie Fraser, inspired by the White House Historical Association, the Fund was established in 1978 to raise funds to purchase important artworks, making the collection available to enrich the houses. The Fund holds the works in trust for the the nation as part of our cultural heritage.
Now The Australiana Fund has produced, in association with NewSouth Publishing, an excellent book which celebrates the four houses and the Fund’s collection within them. Titled Collecting for the Nation, the book is lavishly illustrated showing the artworks in the context of the houses. Edited by Jennifer Sanders, it is written by a selection of highly repected experts in architecture and decoration. The objects are all Australian or have provenance linking them to the houses or previous occupants. They are museum quality but are used as part of the working life of these houses. This beautiful book uniquely ‘opens a door’ into the nation’s official residences and their contents.
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