Chair, wood / wire, designed and made by Arthur Boon, Billy's Creek near Dorrigo, NSW, Australia, c. 1910
Arthur Boon (born Parramatta, NSW 1882 - died near Dorrigo, NSW c1956/58)
This (88/1103 Chair) and several other chairs (88/1106 Deck chair; 88/1105; 88/1104 chairs) were purchased by the Museum from the owners of a property formerly owned by the maker of the chairs, Arthur Boon.
According to Arthur Boon's nephew, Stan Boon, Arthur was never married, lived alone and was not fond of extended visits by family or friends. Arthur is believed to have been born at Parramatta, NSW Australia in 1882. His parents were George (1946-1923) and Sarah Boon. (See Correspondence, Peter Martin to Joan and Stan Boon, 10 February 2009 on Master blue file: 88/1103) It appears he moved with his family to live at Kangaroo Creek near Grafton, NSW as a young boy before settling at Billys Creek near Dorrigo, NSW where he lived the rest of his life.
"Arthur was a bachelor and was never married. He worked for a number of years on the Grafton-Armidale Road for Nymboida Shire Council (with a wheelbarrow and spade in those days!). He had an apple orchard and a vegetable garden. He kept a number of sheep (about 50 Stan thinks). He read a lot and for a while worked for a sawmill. He was also a keen carpenter and built a second house forthe family to live in. Evidently the first house which the family built was pit sawn (very hard work!). He built a carpentary shed, a barn, a sulky shed and a harness shed. He made some furniture and chairs, some photo frames which he elaborately carved. ... He died in the house he built and was buried in Dorrigo cemetery. He was 73-75 when he died in 1956-58. Different members of the family have different ideas about the dates." (see correspondence, Joan Boon to Peter Martin, 5 Sept 2008 on Master blue file: 88/1103)
This more recent biographical information from the family and researcher, Peter Martin, suggests earlier sources were probably incorrect in suggesting Arthur Boon was married with twelve children: see Making-do ... Cotton-reel chair, Powerline, Issue 17, August - September 1990:
"Arthur Boon lived with his wife and twelve children on a small property at Billy's Creek near Dorrigo in northern NSW in the early years of this century. The apple orchard he and his family cultivated provided only a meagre living and, like many early settlers, there was little left over for such luxuries as shop-bought furniture" and "Between 1900 and 1920 Arthur Boon made a range of chairs ingeniously improvised from packing cases, building materials, cotton reels and even picture frame mouldings".
It is possible that Boon himself may have been one of many children living on the family orchard, rather than he himself being the father of 12 children, and over time the family history information became misconstrued.
Anne-Marie Van de Ven, Curator, 2013