Inside the Collection

An armchair from the wilderness

Photograph of ‘Peninsula Tasmania’ armchair
85/1218 Armchair, ‘Peninsula Tasmania’, hardwood / King William Pine, designed by Gay Hawkes, Melbourne, Australia, 1985

This armchair titled ‘Peninsula Tasmania’ was made by Gay Hawkes in Melbourne in 1985. It is made from shipwreck hardwood, collected at Forestier Peninsula in Tasmania and King William pine.

Tourists drive across the Forestier Peninsula on the way to Port Arthur but it remains very undeveloped and there appear to be few roads to the wild east coast where the artist was probably camped.

Gay Hawkes said of her work;

The wood for the piece ‘Peninsula Tasmania’ was collected on a very remote beach on Forestier Peninsula, Tasmania in January 1985 when I was camping there. It is pieces of hardwood & King-Billy pine from shipwrecks – in particular a wreck called the ‘Say When’. The chair was inspired by the blue, green and greys of southern Tasmania, the racing clouds of turbulent air, freshness and richness of the sea, which provided food and even materials for furniture. I wanted to stay there and build a house from the flotsam – so I made this chair’.

According to the Australian Encyclopaedia of Shipwrecks a motor launch called the ‘Saywhen’ was wrecked in 1942 with the loss of five lives however this event was some distance further up the coast from the Forestier Peninsula so our chair is probably made from another and hopefully less gruesome wreck.

Photograph of ‘Side view of 'Peninsula Tasmania' armchair
Side view of ‘Peninsula Tasmania’ armchair

Post by Lynne McNairn, Digital Media

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