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Rt Hon. Sir Robert Menzies
, c. 1962

by Victor Greenhalgh

cast bronze (including base: 40.8 cm x 22.5 cm depth 25.0 cm)

Rt Hon. Sir Robert Gordon Menzies KT AK CH PC QC (1894-1978) was Prime Minister of Australia for a record total of 19 years: from 1939 to 1941 and 1949 to 1966. Born in Jeparit, Victoria, Menzies attended school in Ballarat and studied at Melbourne University, where he gained a reputation as a brilliant speaker. Following early success at the Bar and in state politics, he entered Federal parliament in 1934. He became Prime Minister in 1939 as leader of the United Australia Party, but bitter divisions led to his resignation and the disintegration of the UAP. From the back benches, Menzies founded the Liberal Party, which he led from 1944 to 1966. As Prime Minister through a period of remarkable national prosperity, Menzies cultivated the USA as a 'powerful friend', furthering the two nations' economic and military ties. A staunch monarchist, he was invested as a Knight of the Thistle and succeeded Winston Churchill as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports from 1965 to 1978.

Victor Greenhalgh, an influential sculptor and teacher, was commissioned to sculpt the King George V statue in Ballarat, as well as the eight portrait busts of Australian Prime Ministers which line the Avenue of Prime Ministers in that city's Botanical Gardens.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Donated by Lady Bunting in honour of Sir John Bunting and the Menzies Foundation 1999
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 1999.60