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Sir Edmund Barton's Parliamentary Dispatch Box in the home of Australian Parliamentary history.

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Sir Edmund Barton’s Parliamentary Dispatch Box in the home of Australian Parliamentary history

The Parliamentary Dispatch Box used by Australia's first Prime Minister has been purchased by Old Parliament House, where it will join other important artefacts of Australian democracy, the Minister for the Arts and Sport, Senator George Brandis announced today.

The Dispatch Box was purchased by Old Parliament House at auction for $40,000 and will form part of the Old Parliament House exhibition associated with the Australian Prime Minister's Centre scheduled to open in late May 2007.

Senator Brandis said the authenticity of the dispatch box was verified by an independent valuer and through research by the curatorial team at Old Parliament House.

“The box itself was a daily working tool of our first Prime Minister, a practice which appears to have been continued by Australian Prime Ministers up until the time of Stanley Melbourne Bruce, 1923-1929,” Senator Brandis said.

The dispatch box remained within the Barton family until 1969 when it was sold at auction and bought by a family friend, Miss D. Frazer. It stayed within her family (the Hope family) until the du Plessis auction on the 18 th February of the contents of the Hope family home, ‘Wolta Wolta'.

Media opportunity: Michael Richards, Manager of Learning and Scholarship and Senior Historian of Old Parliament House is available for interviews.

Senator Brandis Media contact: Travis Bell: 0448 950 248

Old Parliament House Media contact: Michael Richards: 0414 794 324

Tuesday, 20 February 2007 12/07

Document ID: 59009 | Last modified: 27 February 2007, 11:06am

Senator the Hon. George Brandis S.C. MINISTER FOR THE ARTS AND SPORT