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National Museum of Australia

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White wooden 'make-do' stool made by soldier settler Harry Newman at Narrogin, Western Australia, in 1922


White wooden 'make-do' stool made by soldier settler Harry Newman at Narrogin, Western Australia, in 1922

Object information


Henry Newman served in the AIF during World War One and took up a soldier settler's block at Narrogin after the war.

Physical description

A white painted wooden 'make-do' stool. It has a rectangular box seat made from pine packing cases for Rose brand kerosene tins, and four round legs made from cut-down broom handles. It has been constructed using metal nails. A rose pattern with words can be seen stencilled on the underside of one of the planks of wood. There is a cream and green coloured sticker adhered to one side with a note handwritten in black pen.

Statement of significance

This 'makedo' stool is a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the World War I Australian Soldier Settlers.

The Soldier Settlement Scheme was established in Australia to deal with the huge influx of returned servicemen during and after WWI. This collection will enable the Museum to better interpret the harsh conditions and consequences that resulted from the repatriation scheme.

The 'makedo' stool originally belonged to Henry and Natalie Newman, a WWI soldier settler family who were allocated land in the Western Australian Wheatbelt area. The 'everyday' materials used to construct the stool reflect the limited resources available to the remote farms and the need to be innovative and recycle a variety of household items in order to survive. The family kept the stool as a reminder of their uncertain times.

Object information


  • Associated period

  • 1916-1919
    Apply 1916-1919 filter
  • Henry Newman served as a stretcher bearer in the AIF from 1916-1919 and he was awarded the Military Medal and Distinguished Service Order for bravery. He was critically wounded in 1918 and returned to Australia in 1919

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