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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.

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John Monash

1919
James Quinn

oil on canvas (frame: 96.2 cm x 84.2 cm, support: 76.5 cm x 64.0 cm)

General Sir John Monash gcmg kcb (1865–1931) was one of Australia’s great military leaders. Having begun his career in engineering and construction in Melbourne, he was appointed to lead the 4th Infantry Brigade of the AIF in Egypt. After heading his troops at Gallipoli, in 1916 he moved to the Western Front, where he was to earn great renown as a tactician, dedicated to minimising casualties through rigorous training, detailed planning and strong technical and mechanical support of his troops. He was promoted to command the Australian Corps in 1918; in July that year, he masterminded the Corps’s involvement in the decisive Battle of Hamel. The first Jew to head a major army in the First World War, he returned with copious honours, though he abhorred the ‘dreadful inefficiency of, and the misspent energy of, war’. For his work on engineering applied to modern warfare, Monash was awarded the first doctorate in engineering from an Australian university. On his return to civilian life, Monash became General Manager, then Chairman, of the Victorian State Electricity Commission. Involved with a number of public organisations, he remained a much-loved public figure in Victoria until his death; his State funeral was attended by some 300 000 people.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of John Colin Monash Bennett 2007
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program

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

James Quinn (age 59 in 1919)

General Sir John Monash GCMG KCB (age 54 in 1919)

Subject professions

Military

Donated by

John C. Monash Bennett (1 portrait)

Related information

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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.

John Monash
John Monash
John Monash
John Monash

Lauded legacy

Magazine article by Karl James, 2015

Karl James gives short shrift to doubts about the profile of General Sir John Monash.

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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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