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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.

Harold Darling, 1951

William Dargie

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

Accession number: 2003.95

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

William Dargie (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.

Sir Lawrence Wackett, c. 1961 William Dargie
Sir Lawrence Wackett, c. 1961 William Dargie
Sir Lawrence Wackett, c. 1961 William Dargie
Sir Lawrence Wackett, c. 1961 William Dargie

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Professor Peter Doherty, 2001 Rick Amor
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Magazine article by Elizabeth Finlay, 2003

Scientists tend to conjure up images of men in white coats in labs but this is just one stereotype in an evolving history of how we have perceived scientists, and how their profession has been understood over the years.

Self portrait, late 1930s William Dargie
Self portrait, late 1930s William Dargie
Self portrait, late 1930s William Dargie
Self portrait, late 1930s William Dargie

Sir William Dargie CBE

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2003

Sir William Dargie, painter and eight times winner of the Archibald Prize for portraiture, died in Melbourne on July 26, 2003, aged 91.

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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.