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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.

Tribute

Tom Uren AC

1 June 2015

Gloves off (Tom Uren), 1996 Ralph Heimans
Gloves off (Tom Uren), 1996 Ralph Heimans

Edward Tom Uren AC (1921-2015), former Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party, was a major campaigner on environmental and urban-planning issues and rights for veterans. He became active in left-wing politics after the war, during which he was a prisoner of the Japanese. Becoming member for the western Sydney electorate of Reid in 1958, he held the seat until he retired 32 years later.

He was Minister for Urban and Regional Development in the Whitlam government and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in 1976–1977. In the Hawke government he held several portfolios before retiring to the backbench in 1987. He retired from politics in 1990 and became a Life Member of the ALP in 1993. A great volume of Uren’s correspondence and official papers is held by the National Library; his autobiography, Straight left, was published in 1994.

Tom Uren lived for most of his life in Balmain, Sydney, where he was born. The portrait Gloves off refers not only to Uren’s early ambitions as a boxer, but to his multifarious political battles for social justice and heritage conservation of areas of inner Sydney (which can be seen in the background). 

Related people

Tom Uren AO

Related information

Portrait 48, Autumn 2015

Magazine

This issue features Abdul Abdullah, Sam Leach, Sonia McMahon, Rod McNicol, The National Photographic Portrait Prize and more.

Sydney city (Patrick White and Tom Uren, Hiroshima Day demonstration), 1984
Sydney city (Patrick White and Tom Uren, Hiroshima Day demonstration), 1984
Sydney city (Patrick White and Tom Uren, Hiroshima Day demonstration), 1984
Sydney city (Patrick White and Tom Uren, Hiroshima Day demonstration), 1984

The activist A-list

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2007

Dr Sarah Engledow examines a number of figures in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery who were pioneers or substantial supporters of the seminal Australian environmental campaigns of the early 1970s and 1980s.

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The National Portrait Gallery
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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.