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L. Gordon Darling AC, CMG

1921 – 2015

L. Gordon Darling AC CMG (1921-2015), former company director, was the Founding Patron of the National Portrait Gallery. Born in London, Darling was schooled in England before serving as a major in the AIF during World War II. In the early 1950s he became a company director with BHP, a position he held for 32 years. For fifteen years during this period he was also Chairman of Rheem Australia and Koitaki Ltd. Inaugural Chairman of the Board of the Australian National Gallery from 1982 to 1986, in 1987, reflecting his interest in the visual arts, he founded the Gordon Darling Australian Print Fund, which has acquired over 6 000 prints for the national collection. In 1991 he established the Gordon Darling Foundation, which continues to provide funding and staff development opportunities for public art institutions Australia-wide. That year, too, he and Marilyn Darling initiated the Darling Foundation-sponsored touring exhibition Uncommon Australians: Towards an Australian Portrait Gallery, the interest generated by which led to the establishment of the National Portrait Gallery, housed first in the National Library of Australia, then in Old Parliament House and then in its own building on King Edward Terrace, Parkes.

Updated 2018