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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.

Harold Darling

1951
Sir William Dargie CBE

oil on canvas (frame: 123.3 cm x 97.8 cm)

Harold Darling (1885-1950) was chairman of BHP from 1922 to 1950. Born in Adelaide, he entered his father's milling and grain business when he was 18. Eleven years later, in 1914, his father died and he became principal of John Darling and Son, at the same time assuming his father's position on the board of directors of BHP. In 1922 he was elected chairman of the board, although he was its youngest member. Over his years as chairman, during which he was also chairman of numerous BHP-owned companies including Australian Iron and Steel, Wellington Alluvials, Stewarts & Lloyds and Rylands Bros, and a director of BHP Collieries, Tubemakers of Australia, Imperial Chemical Industries and the National Bank of Australasia, Darling often had to face difficult meetings with shareholders. However, the company grew exponentially during his term. From 1934 defence of Australia, and particularly of the Newcastle steelworks, was his inevitable concern. He was the first chairman of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation in 1936 and represented the corporation on the Aircraft Advisory Committee in 1941. In adapting production to wartime exigencies he worked in brilliant partnership with his close friend Essington Lewis, general manager of the company. Professionally and personally a loyal, honest and modest man, Darling's belief that only private enterprise could create a stable and prosperous economy led him to found the Institute of Public Affairs in 1942. He was a generous benefactor, particularly to South Australian institutions.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of BHP Billiton 2003
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Roger Dargie and Faye Dargie

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

Sir William Dargie CBE (age 39 in 1951)

Harold Darling

Subject professions

Business, trades and industry

Donated by

BHP Billiton (11 portraits)

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.

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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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