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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.

Sir George Grey, Governor of New Zealand

1861
William-Wolfe Alais

engraving on paper. (frame: 49.0 cm x 41.0 cm, image: 21.2 cm x 16.7 cm)

Sir George Grey (1812-1898), originally an explorer of the West Australian coast, became Governor of the near- bankrupt colony of South Australia in 1840. Although he was popularly resented for his drastic economic measures, over five years he nearly balanced the colony's budget and he did introduce some valuable reforms. Grey's wilfulness and refusal to work in consultation with his colleagues marred his subsequent terms as Governor in New Zealand (from 1845 to 1853) and then South Africa (from 1854 to 1861), where his volatile idiosyncrasies alienated not only the indigenous inhabitants, but the War Office, the Treasury and the Colonial Office. He returned as Governor of New Zealand in late 1861, but after a number of hasty and high-handed decisions he was dismissed for defiance of orders in 1868. Grey's marriage, too, was a prolonged disaster. His biographers have generally concluded that he was a man of great ability, but very poor judgement.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by Ross A Field 2008

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

William-Wolfe Alais

Sir George Grey (age 49 in 1861)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

Supported by

The Ian Potter Foundation (13 portraits supported)

Ross A. Field (12 portraits supported)

Related portraits

1. Sir George Grey, c. 1845. All Theresa Walker.

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

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.

Self portrait
Self portrait
Self portrait
Self portrait

Profile of a marriage

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

Dr Sarah Engledow explores the lives of Sir George Grey and his wife Eliza, the subjects of a pair of wax medallions in the National Portrait Gallery's collection.

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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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