Wooden bench with reversible backrest used in a mental health hospital (probably Ballarat) in Victoria, Australia, circa 1920. Made by Public Works Department. Patients would sit at the bench facing a table in a dining room. When the meal had ended the back would be moved across so patients could face the centre of the room.

Physical Description

Wooden bench with reversible backrest. Back has single horizontal beam (rounded on top) at mid-back height and flat ends carved in shape rather like a celtic cross. Each has thick metal rod inset up the middle and extending 25cm below bottom. Lower end of rod is screwed to inside of bench leg, allowing backrest to be swung to either side of the bench. There are slits in each end of the seat to allow movement of the rod and seat is plain, thick slab with rounded edges. Two legs are flat pieces with sides carved in stepped concave outline.

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