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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.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

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
© Nathan Kelly

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Nathan Kelly (age 21 in 1997)

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

Subject professions

Government and leadership

Donated by

Nathan Kelly (1 portrait)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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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
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester

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.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

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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 past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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