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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.

Sir James Gobbo

1983
Paul Fitzgerald

synthetic polymer paint on canvas (frame: 113.5 cm x 88.0 cm)

Sir James Gobbo AC CVO QC (1931–2021), governor and judge, was born to Italian parents in Melbourne and gained a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford in 1951. He left Oxford with a BA, an MA and a rowing blue, and after returning to Australia in 1957 he lectured at the University of Melbourne for five years. He practised as a barrister through the 1960s and was appointed to the bench of the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1978 and was knighted in 1982. Through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s he served on a great many boards and foundations, particularly to do with health and community welfare. After he retired from the bench in 1994 he was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Victoria; he became Governor of Victoria in 1997, becoming the first person of Italian heritage appointed to a state governorship. He served as the Chairman of the Council of the National Library of Australia, of the National Advisory Commission on Ageing and of the Council for the Order of Australia. Among his many honours were the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy, and the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Gregory, the latter one of the highest honours the Vatican confers.

Paul Fitzgerald depicted Gobbo in the robes of a Knight of the The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta.

Gift of Mercy Health and Aged Care 2006
© Estate of Paul Fitzgerald

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

Paul Fitzgerald (age 61 in 1983)

Sir James Gobbo AC CVO QC (age 52 in 1983)

Donated by

Roger Saddington (1 portrait)

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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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Leslie Moran investigates the portraits of judges in the National Portrait Gallery's collection.

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The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

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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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