Skip to main content

Please be advised: this website contains the names, images and voices of people who are now deceased.

Collections WA has a responsibility to preserve and make accessible the history and culture of Western Australia in all its various forms. The intention of Collections WA is to support research, and to reveal actions of the past that have impacted upon communities, families, and individuals.

In doing so, Collections WA acknowledges the need to respond sensitively and appropriately in cases when accessing this material may be confronting to Aboriginal visitors and clients.

Please also note: Some historical materials within this portal may include language or opinions that today are considered inappropriate or even offensive. Collections WA does not endorse this language and apologises for any distress caused.

If you wish to provide feedback on the Collections WA portal, please email contact@collectionswa.net.au.

Whalebone Chair - replica

Overview

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.

Details

Details

Registration number
cwa-org-27-2020_471
Item type
Material
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.

Keywords
Emma Withnell
Roebourne
whale
City of Karratha Local History Archives

City of Karratha Local History Archives

Organisation Details
View Collection