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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

A head for business and a heart for love

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an eye-catching, self-made man must be in want of a wife, and every colonial Sydney matron with eligible daughters must have had Thomas Sutcliffe Mort in her sights.

Thomas Sutcliffe Mort came to New South Wales in 1838 believing the colony presented ‘a better opening for his industrious habits and his business abilities’ than Manchester, his hometown. He was right. Mort became Sydney’s leading wool auctioneer at a time when the commodity was the colony’s most lucrative export, and he later branched into dairying, winegrowing, railways and shipbuilding, among many other ventures. With his ‘suavity of manner’ and solid prospects, Mort might have made a socially and financially advantageous marriage. Instead, he fell for Theresa Laidley, whose family – just like some of Jane Austen’s heroines – had been left in embarrassingly reduced circumstances by a father’s untimely death. Theirs proved to be a long, deeply loving partnership, and Thomas was left bereft by Theresa’s death in 1869.

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The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

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Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
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ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

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