Counter - Customs House, Williamstown, circa 1871 Object Reg. No: HT 14783

Wooden counter which was removed from the Williamstown Customs House in the late 1980s, when it was vacated by Australian Customs, its original location is the subject of some debate.

The Williamstown and Flinders Street Custom Houses were completed in the first half of the 1870s, and designed by the same government architect, Peter Kerr, so it is possible that similar fittings were used in both buildings.

A plaque attached to the desk when it was installed at the Customs Building in Flinders Street, Melbourne, in the 1990s, notes that it was used at the Williamstown Customs House from 1871-1981. However an engraving of the Long Room at the Customs House in Flinders Street, Melbourne, depicts wooden counters of the same style and dimensions as this one. So it is also possible that this counter is an original fitting from the Melbourne Customs House, removed when Customs vacated the building in the 1960s, and transferred to the Williamstown Customs House as a `memento' of the old building.

Custom House buildings were constructed at major Victorian ports during the mid to late 19th Century.
Carved wooden counter (possibly cedar), which has a modern varnish finish. It has had some conversion work to the back of it in the 1980s to convert it to a work station (including the removal of drawers and partitions) but it comes with all the removed parts.

A small inscribed metal plaque is attached to the front of the desk.
Acquisition Information:
Transfer from Australian Customs Service, 2007
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 100.00 cm (Height), 70.00 cm (Width), 300.00 cm (Length)

More information

Tagged with: customs houses, furniture, desks, counters
Themes this item is part of: Migration Collection, Public Life & Institutions Collection, Immigration Museum
Primary Classification: GOVERNANCE
Secondary Classification: Customs & Excise
Tertiary Classification: office furniture
Inscriptions: On plaque: 'THIS COUNTER MADE OF CEDAR / WAS USED AT THE CUSTOMS HOUSE, WILLIAMSTOWN / FROM 1871 - 1981". Inscribed at base with maker's name 'ROESZLER / MELBOURNE'.
User: Australian Customs Service, Victoria, Australia, circa 1871-1981
Place Used: Williamstown, Victoria, Australia
Place Used: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Terry Breen Posted on 19 Jun 2013 6:38 PM
I worked for Customs at Williamstown in the 1970s and the counter used to be longer, it had a curved piece cut off many years before I started work there. It was given away to be made into someone's bar.

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