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Henry Bolte
, 1969

by Les Tanner and Gus McLaren (producer)

glazed ceramic

Sir Henry Bolte KCMG (1908-90) was Victorian's longest serving Premier from 1955 until his retirement in 1972. Bolte, who had a reputation for acerbic one-liners, successfully exploited his image as a man of the people. While he was responsible for key social reforms such as increased rights for Aborigines, extension of trading hours for shops and pubs, and the compulsory wearing of seatbelts, Bolte's real passion was for economic progress. He led many delegations overseas to promote Victoria and to seek investment for its development. However he deeply divided the community with his refusal in 1967 to commute the death sentence for Ronald Ryan, who was the last person to be hanged in Australia. Bolte died of lung cancer, smoking to the end and joking that his last smoke would be in the crematorium.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2004
Accession number: 2004.175