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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.

Ben Chifley, 1951

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

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

John Frith (age 45 in 1951)

Joseph Benedict "Ben" Chifley (age 66 in 1951)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

Donated by

Jeffrey Frith (4 portraits)

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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.