The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and gives respect to the Elders – past and present – and through them to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that the MAAS website contains a range of Indigenous Cultural Material. This includes artworks, artifacts, images and recordings of people who may have passed away, and other objects which may be culturally sensitive.
99/88/1 Grand piano with cover, Huon pine / King William pine / casuarina / metal, Stuart & Sons, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, 1998-1999. Click to enlarge.

Stuart piano

The Stuart & Sons piano represents the state of the art development of the technical construction and visual design of the modern piano. Using a specially designed string agraffe on the bridges allows the string to run in a straight line rather than go through the traditional zigzag caused by offset bridge pins. The result when struck by the hammer is a more efficient string vibration with the string moving in a vertical plane until it stops. Research conducted by the CSIRO's Dr Bob Anderssen confirmed that the traditionally aligned bridge pins affected the string's vibration by moving from a vertical plane through to a more elliptical pattern, thereby reducing the efficiency of the string.

The museum's piano is the fourth to be produced by Newcastle based maker, Wayne Stuart. The use of Australian timbers in the construction is another significant departure from traditional piano case design. The highly figured golden Huon pine veneer and red Western Australian casuarina create a stunning visual statement very different from the more common black enamel finish used on other modern pianos. Timbers such as hoop pine and King William pine were also used in the piano's construction and the iron frame was cast at RC Wahn's foundry in Newcastle. This together with a range of a full eight octaves and four pedals rather than the usual three make the Stuart piano one of the major advances in piano design seen this century.

Australia has had a number of locally based piano makers from the 1830s to the present day. These have predominantly been from Victoria and New South Wales but also to a lesser extent from Tasmania and Queensland. The piano making industry in Australia has not been active for many years until now, making the Stuart & Sons pianos an important link with the traditions of the past.

Michael Lea,
Curator, music & musical instruments


Object No.


Object Statement

Grand piano with cover, Huon pine / King William pine / casuarina / metal, Stuart & Sons, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, 1998-1999

Physical Description

Concert grand piano of 97 note compass. Case, lid and legs finished in highly figured Huon pine (Lagarostrobos franklinii) veneer with red she-oak (casuarina) banding around edges. Veneer pattern book matched to form series of diamond shapes along sides and down lid. Finished in clear lacquer giving blonde appearance to casework. Thin black ebony inlay forming "tram tracks" around edges on both sides of lid. King William pine (Athrotaxis Selaginoides) soundboard with series of ribs on under side slightly arching soundboard to create resonant board sensitive to sound vibration. Unique metal string coupling system using small bridge for each set of three strings mounted on two traditional wooden bridges which in turn are attached to soundboard. Pedal lyre underneath keybed of piano uses four pedals.


Copper coloured painted cast iron frame has cursive "WS" logo and inscription "Stuart and Sons/Terra Australis" on bent side in black..



982 mm


1670 mm


1200 kg



Designed and made by Wayne Stuart, 1998-1999



Piano commissioned by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in 1999


Credit Line

Purchased 1999

Acquisition Date

11 August 1999

Cite this Object


Stuart piano 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 26 November 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Stuart piano |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=26 November 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.