Skip to main content

Ticketed entry is in place to safely manage your visit so please book ahead. Need to cancel or rejig? Email bookings@npg.gov.au

Menu

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.

JOH (The Hon Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen), c. 1987

Noel Stapleton

synthetic polymer paint on canvas board (frame: 84.2 cm x 59.0 cm, support: 72.6 cm x 50.8 cm)

Hon Joh Bjelke-Petersen KCMG (b. 1911), former Premier of Queensland, was a beef and peanut farmer before he entered politics in 1947. From 1950 until he resigned in 1987 he held the seat of Barambah for the National Party. Meanwhile, he became Premier in 1968. His style, encapsulated in his famous phrase 'don't you worry about that' was both aggressively conservative and individualistic; his premiership was marked by rapid economic and population growth in Queensland. In 1986 he emerged as a possible prime minister, but the 'Joh for PM' roadshow crashed when Bob Hawke called an early election in June 1987. Bjelke-Petersen resigned later that year. The ensuing Fitzgerald Enquiry into corruption in Queensland led to the laying of charges against several of his former ministers. He himself was charged on several counts, but tried only for perjury. The charge was dropped when the jury failed to reach a verdict.

Noel Stapleton, commercial artist, began his career in Brisbane in 1944. At the age of 22 he turned freelance and moved to Sydney, where he has worked ever since, achieving considerable success in advertising and other promotional work. Stapleton painted this portrait to serve as a fund-raiser for the 'Joh for PM' campaign. The work travelled widely around the country as a centrepiece for the campaign, and many autographed copies of it were sold. Stapleton was asked to appear on 'The Mid-day Show' to promote sales, but refused, stating that as an ex-Queenslander he was happy to take Joh's money for doing the work but wanted nothing to do with the campaign. When the campaign folded in 1987 he requested the return of this original, and it came back to him in its travelling case.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds from the Basil Bressler Bequest 2003
© Estate of Noel Stapleton

Accession number: 2003.130

Currently not on display

Copyright image request form
Request a digital copy of an image for publication

Artist and subject

Noel Stapleton (age 60 in 1987)

Hon Joh Bjelke-Petersen KCMG (age 76 in 1987)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Elle Macpherson, 2000 Polly Borland
Elle Macpherson, 2000 Polly Borland
Elle Macpherson, 2000 Polly Borland
Elle Macpherson, 2000 Polly Borland

Australian Visit

Previous exhibition, 2006

The exhibition will include works of art from the NPG Canberra's permanent collection with some inward loans and aims to highlight the achievements of notable Australians.

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

The Gallery

Explore portraiture and come face to face with Australian identity, history, culture, creativity and diversity.

Plan your visit

Timed ticketing, location, accessibility and amenities

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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.