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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.

Dressing for dinner

1992
Davida Allen

oil on plywood (frame: 188 cm x 299.5 cm, support: 173 cm x 284 cm)

The Hon Bill Hayden AC (b. 1933) was Governor-General of Australia from 1989 to 1996 and Leader of the Opposition from 1977 to 1983. After serving in the Queensland Police Force, at the age of 28 Hayden was elected Labor member for the Federal seat of Oxley in 1961, a seat he held until 1988. As a government minister he held a number of senior portfolios including Social Security, where he introduced the single mother's pension and Medibank, the precursor to Medicare. During his career he openly supported marriage equality and voluntary euthanasia. In the late 1990s Hayden joined the board of Quadrant, a literary, cultural and political journal, and wrote opinion pieces for Australian newspapers and magazines. A former atheist, Hayden was baptised in 2018 at the age of 85.

Davida Allen, painter, novelist and filmmaker, painted this double portrait of Hayden and his wife Dallas while he was Governor-General. Allen was given unprecedented access to the couple, and got her inspiration for the portrait as they dressed for an important dinner. Executed in Allen's trademark expressive style, with thickly applied oil paint in brilliant colours, the painting was considered a stand-out of the 1993 Archibald Prize exhibition.

Gift of the artist 1999. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Davida Allen

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Davida Allen (age 41 in 1992)

The Hon. Bill Hayden AC (age 59 in 1992)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

Donated by

Davida Allen (2 portraits)

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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 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.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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