A billiard table from the 1800s provides a unique glimpse back in time.

25 July 2022

Known as the History of Australia Billiard Table, this is a one-of-a-kind example of colonial design, manufacture and craftsmanship.

The billiard table was acquired by the National Museum of Australia for $1.1 million, of which $550,000 was provided through our National Cultural Heritage Account.

The Tasmanian blackwood billiard table and scoreboard feature 19th century carving that reflects Australia’s colonial history.

The table was crafted over 2 years from 1883-85 by Benjamin Hulbert, a Sydney-based billiard table manufacturer.

It features 10 exquisite high-relief panels, by master wood carver George Billyeald, which depict flora and fauna and key scenes from Australia’s early history, including:

  • Colonial conflict
  • gold mining
  • the Burke and Wills expedition.

No other works by the master carver George Billyeald are known to be held in Australian public collections.

The billiard table will be on display at the National Museum of Australia at the end of 2022.

The National Cultural Heritage Account helps to preserve our cultural objects and make them available to the Australian public.

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The History of Australia Billiard Table, with green felt top and ornate carvings on timber side and end panels
Image courtesy of the National Museum of Australia