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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.

Jack Lang, 1970

Adam Martin

oil on canvas

John Thomas (Jack) Lang (1875-1975) was a pugnacious estate agent who was Labor premier of NSW from 1925 to 1927 and 1930 to 1932. Lang's reputation as a reformer stems from his first period in office, when he introduced the widows' pension, child endowment and a Workers Compensation Act. The working-class 'Big Fella' aroused so much fear amongst the middle class that a paramilitary organisation, the New Guard, was formed to protect the State; it was a member of this New Guard who beat Lang to the ribbon at the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. In 1931 he introduced the 'Lang Plan', refusing to pay interest to British bondholders at the expense of Australian dole recipients; this led to his sacking in 1932. For many years after his dismissal, Lang continued to play a major part in Australian Labor politics.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Elsie Martin 2000

Accession number: 2000.27

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Adam Martin

John Thomas Lang (age 94 in 1970)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

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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.