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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.

John Gorton, 1997

Nathan Kelly

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 40.3 cm x 30.3 cm, image: 31.4 cm x 20.7 cm)

Sir John Grey Gorton GCMG AC CH (1911-2002) was prime minister of Australia from January 1968 to March 1971, selected for the office after Harold Holt vanished. His flirty and raffish style was unprecedented in a Liberal leader, and he anticipated the mood of the Whitlam years in establishing such bodies as the Australia Council and the Australian Film and Television School. Relationships between the government and the states were strained, however, and Gorton snubbed many of his best departmental heads. In March 1971 the defence minister, Malcolm Fraser, resigned when he could not secure Gorton's support. Gorton stood down, becoming defence minister under McMahon, but was sacked when he published a series of articles criticising his Cabinet colleagues. He was estranged from the Liberal Party until 1999, when he was honoured at a dinner in Old Parliament House.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2002

Accession number: 2003.207

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Nathan Kelly (age 21 in 1997)

Sir John Gorton GCMG AC CH (age 86 in 1997)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

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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.

In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester, 1939 Albert Tucker
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester, 1939 Albert Tucker
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester, 1939 Albert Tucker
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester, 1939 Albert Tucker

Depth of Field

Portrait Photography from the Collection

Previous exhibition, 2004

Over the last five years the National Portrait Gallery has developed a collection of portrait photographs that reflects both the strength and diversity of Australian achievement as well as the talents of our photographers.

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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.