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Ben Chifley
, 1951

by John Frith

cast plaster, patinated and bronze powder coated pipe (including base: 52.0 cm x 32.0 cm depth 27.0 cm)

The Rt Hon Joseph Benedict Chifley (1885-1951) was Labor Prime Minister of Australia from 1945 to 1949, after serving as John Curtin's closest colleague and Treasurer in the Labor government of 1941-5. As Prime Minister, Chifley won the respect of most Australians, even after his unsuccessful attempt to nationalise the banks and Labor's defeat in 1949. His sudden death in 1951 overshadowed the celebration of the first fifty years of Federation, and he lay in state here in Kings Hall before being buried in Bathurst.

Well-known cartoonist John Frith based this plaster bust on sketches he made during a private sitting on the night Chifley died.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the Frith family 2006
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2006.74