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Whalebone Chair - replica


A chair fashioned from the vertebrae of a whale

Historical information

Emma and John Withnell were amongst the first European people to settle in the district of Roebourne. The family arrived at Tien Tsin (Cossack) on the 14th of April 1864 and went on to establish Mount Welcome Station in Roebourne.

John Withnell collected a number of whalebones from a nearby whaling station and constructed them into a chair for his wife Emma.



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Contextual Information

This replica of Emma Withnell's chair was created by artist Jean-Marc Rivalland. John Withnell made the original chair for his wife Emma between 1864 -1865.

In 1994 the original chair was donated to the National Trust by Nancy Withnell-Taylor, the granddaughter of John and Emma Withnell. The chair was on loan and displayed in the Roebourne Museum, until 1999, when it was decided that the extreme climate was detrimental to the condition of the chair. The original chair was removed from the museum and replaced with a replica model. The original chair will be on display at the New WA Museum in late 2020.

City of Karratha Local History Archives

City of Karratha Local History Archives

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