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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.

Don Argus, 2004

Peter Wegner

oil on canvas (frame: 134.6 cm x 105.0 cm, support: 130.0 cm x 100.0 cm)

Donald Argus AC (b. 1938), corporate leader, was Chairman of BHP Billiton Ltd from 2000 to 2012. Bundaberg-born and a high-school dropout, Argus began his career in the mailroom of the National Australia Bank (NAB) and worked his way up to hold the position of managing director there from 1990 to 1999, when he became the tenth Chairman of BHP. During his directorship of the NAB Argus oversaw the growth of the organisation into Australia's largest bank, but was still wont to refer to himself as its 'head teller'. He completed his tertiary studies at Harvard at the age of 40, having divided his time between his career, studying, and playing and coaching hockey. Advising business students to 'stick with the fundamentals' such as auditing, he believes that Australians should champion their business leaders rather than complaining about how much profit companies make. He embraces deregulation and globalisation and believes that the Australian banking sector leads the world in enterprise and good management. Since he left the NAB he has also been Chairman of Brambles Industries and a Director of the Australia Foundation Investment Company; he was a Director of Southcorp Ltd from 1999 to 2003, and served on the Board of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games until 2001. Well-known for his support and sponsorship of sports and community activities, Argus has twice been voted Australia's most-admired businessman.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of BHP Billiton 2004
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Peter Wegner

Accession number: 2004.184

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Peter Wegner (age 51 in 2004)

Donald Argus AO (age 66 in 2004)

Subject professions

Business, trades and industry

Donated by

BHP Billiton (11 portraits)

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.

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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.