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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.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Sketch portrait of Sir Alex Onslow

1896
Tom Roberts

oil on canvas (frame: 40.2 cm x 34.7 cm, support: 32.8 cm x 27.8 cm)

Sir Alexander Campbell Onslow (1842–1908), judge, arrived in Western Australia, then under the governorship of William Robinson, to become Attorney-General in 1880. In poor health almost from the day he arrived, he took his seat as chief justice in 1883. By 1884 he had severely antagonised the new governor, Broome. Tensions between them escalated until, in 1887, Broome forbade Onslow to exercise his office. Onslow became a hero to anti-government factions, who burned Broome in effigy. He returned to the bench in May 1888, but more trouble ensued when the proprietors of leading newspapers accused him of open prejudice against them. After various enquiries, the Legislative Council found that Onslow’s occupancy of his position was an impediment to ‘peace and harmony’ in the colony. Onslow took nearly a year’s leave, but he returned to the bench in 1891, welcomed by the reinstated Robinson and a conciliatory West Australian. Retiring sick in 1901, he lived in England for the last years of his life.

Purchased with funds provided by L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2006

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Tom Roberts (age 40 in 1896)

Sir Alexander C. Onslow (age 54 in 1896)

Supported by

L Gordon Darling AC CMG (38 portraits supported)

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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 past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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