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"A Returned Colonist" Rt Hon. Hugh C.E. Childers (Image plate from Vanity Fair)
, 1869

by Carlo Pellegrini

chromolithograph (sheet: 38.0 cm x 26.3 cm)

Hugh Culling Eardley Childers (1827–1896) pursued an influential political career both in colonial Victoria and then upon his return to Britain. Born in London and educated at both Oxford and Cambridge, he emigrated to Victoria in 1850. He was nominated to the Legislative Council in 1852 and later was elected to the Legislative Assembly. Childers served as auditor-general and played key roles in trade reform, drafting the Victorian constitution and in founding the University of Melbourne, serving as its first vice-chancellor. In 1858, Childers returned to Britain, but he remained a vigorous advocate for the interests of colonial Victoria. Sitting in the House of Commons for over 30 years from 1860 and holding numerous cabinet posts, Childers was a man of ‘extreme orderliness’ and ‘unfailing punctuality’. His renowned girth and self-importance earned him the nickname “Here Comes Everybody” Childers – a play on his initials HCE.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of Mr Ronald Walker 2001
Accession number: 2003.206.2