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The Honourable J.J. Carlton with Cravat
, 2000

by Esther Erlich

oil on canvas (support: 122.0 cm x 153.0 cm)

The Hon Jim Carlton AO (1935-2015), former Liberal politician and humanitarian, represented the Sydney electorate of Mackellar in federal parliament from 1977 to 1994. Carlton was minister for health in the Fraser government, and following his retirement from politics was active in humanitarian aid both in Australia and overseas. He helped establish the Australian branch of the International Committee for a Community of Democracies in 1985, and served as a Commonwealth observer at the 1991 elections in Zambia. As secretary general of the Australian Red Cross from 1994 to 2001 he led the transformation of the country’s eight separate blood banks into a single organisation, and received the international body’s highest honour, the Henry Durant Medal. He chaired the federal minister’s Implementation Task Force on Aged Care from 2004 to 2006. Carlton was honoured with a state memorial service following his death in Melbourne on Christmas Day 2015.

On meeting the legendarily charming ‘JJ’ Carlton in 1999, artist Esther Erlich learned of his love of ties, and decided then and there to portray him affecting a colourful foulard.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift from anonymous private collection
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2001.41