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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.

Sir Edward Holden, 1945

Leslie Bowles

cast bronze on granite base (including base: 43.0 cm x 20.0 cm depth 24.0 cm)

Sir Edward Wheewall Holden (1885–1947) was an industrialist and politician. During the Boer War his family’s Adelaide saddlery business won large contracts, and later branched into motor-body trimming. Holden’s Motor Body Builders Ltd was formed in 1917, after Edward Holden designed a prototype standard body for imported chassis. Holden’s grew exponentially, and in 1923 began producing bodies for the American-owned General Motors. Holden oversaw its further expansion, incorporating the latest in automated technology. In 1931 GM bought the company – undertaking to maintain its Australian character – and Holden became chairman of General Motors-Holden’s Ltd. He served as a Liberal member of the Legislative Council from 1935 to 1947 and was knighted in 1945. Thereafter he continued his corporate service with bodies including the South Australian Industries Assistance Corporation, the Chamber of Commerce and the Bank of Adelaide. His energetic contribution to public life was perpetuated by his daughter Nancy (later Dame Nancy Buttfield), the first South Australian woman in an Australian parliament.

Leslie Bowles was born in Sydney and began his studies in modelling and carving in Brisbane. In 1910 he won a scholarship to study at the South London School of Sculpture and the Royal Academy School. After serving in the Royal Tank Corps in France from 1914 to 1919, he returned to Australia and worked on the production of dioramas for the Australian War Memorial. He was head sculptor at the Memorial from 1925 to 1931.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Bequest of John J Holden 2005

Accession number: 2005.95

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Leslie Bowles (age 60 in 1945)

Sir Edward Wheewall Holden (age 60 in 1945)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

Related information

The Companion

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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.

Sir Edward Holden, 1945 Leslie Bowles
Sir Edward Holden, 1945 Leslie Bowles
Sir Edward Holden, 1945 Leslie Bowles
Sir Edward Holden, 1945 Leslie Bowles

Promise Fulfilled

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

The life and achievements of Sir Edward Holden, who is represented in the portrait collection by a bust created by Leslie Bowles.

Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark, 2000 Peter Wegner
Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark, 2000 Peter Wegner
Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark, 2000 Peter Wegner
Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark, 2000 Peter Wegner

Portraits for Posterity

Previous exhibition, 2006

Drawn from some of the many donations made to the Gallery's collection, the exhibition Portraits for Posterity pays homage both to the remarkable (and varied) group of Australians who are portrayed in the portraits and the generosity of the many donors who have presented them to the Gallery.

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

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Explore portraiture and come face to face with Australian identity, history, culture, creativity and diversity.

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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.