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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.

Frank Gardiner and Fred Lowry, 1864, 1863

Freeman Brothers and an unknown artist

two albumen silver photographs on laid on paper with handwritten text (sheet: 22.7 cm x 18.2 cm, image: 5.0 cm x 8.5 cm, image: 7.5 cm x 5.5 cm)

More images of this artwork

Francis Gardiner (Christie) (1830-1903?), bushranger, came to New South Wales with his family as a child. At the age of 20, under the name Francis Christie, he was sentenced to five years' hard labour at Geelong for horse theft. Escaping from Pentridge, he returned to New South Wales. In early 1854, having stolen more horses, he was convicted as Francis Clarke and imprisoned on Cockatoo Island. Five years later he was given a ticket-of-leave for the Carcoar district, but broke parole and headed south. Following a stint as a butcher at Lambing Flat, he transformed himself into 'The Darkie', engaging in highway robbery on the Cowra Road. In July 1861 at a sly grog shop near Oberon he shot and wounded two policemen. Expanding with Johnny Piesley into the old Lachlan road and the Weddin Mountains, he formed a 'gang' with Johnny Gilbert, Ben Hall and others. On 15 June 1862 they held up the gold escort near Eugowra and bagged £14 000. Gardiner fled with his mistress to Queensland, but in early 1864 he was located by the New South Wales police and arrested. Tried for wounding Sergeant Middleton with intent to kill, he was acquitted by the jury but found guilty on two non-capital charges and given a cumulative sentence of 32 years' hard labour. In 1872, the high-profile orator WB Dalley, who had defended Gardiner, organized petitions to the governor to use his prerogative of mercy. Governor Robinson decided that Gardiner had been harshly sentenced and in 1874 released him, subject to his exile. A public controversy ensued, with petitions, counter-petitions and spirited debates in the Legislative Assembly. Ultimately, the decision led to the fall of Premier Henry Parkes's government. In 1875, by way of Hong Kong, Gardiner travelled to San Francisco, where he ran the Twilight Saloon. Although most reports were unreliable, the colonial press continued to note his activities, including his death in Colorado in about 1903.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2008

Accession number: 2008.4.ab

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Freeman Brothers

Frank Gardiner (age 34 in 1864)

Frederick Lowry

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.

Studio of the American & Australasian Photographic Co., Hill End, 1872
Studio of the American & Australasian Photographic Co., Hill End, 1872
Studio of the American & Australasian Photographic Co., Hill End, 1872
Studio of the American & Australasian Photographic Co., Hill End, 1872

A rogue's calling card

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2008

Joanna Gilmour explores the stories behind the ninteenth-century carte de visites of bushrangers Frank Gardiner and Fred Lowry.

Lady Barkly, 1863 Batchelder & O'Neill
Lady Barkly, 1863 Batchelder & O'Neill
Lady Barkly, 1863 Batchelder & O'Neill
Lady Barkly, 1863 Batchelder & O'Neill

Carte-o-mania!

Previous exhibition, 2018

Drawn from the NPG’s burgeoning collection of cartes de visite, Carte-o-mania! celebrates the wit, style and substance of the pocket-sized portraits that were taken and collected like crazy in post-goldrush Australia.

Ned Kelly death mask, date unknown an unknown artist after Maximilian Kreitmayer
Ned Kelly death mask, date unknown an unknown artist after Maximilian Kreitmayer
Ned Kelly death mask, date unknown an unknown artist after Maximilian Kreitmayer
Ned Kelly death mask, date unknown an unknown artist after Maximilian Kreitmayer

Sideshow Alley

Infamy, the macabre & the portrait

Previous exhibition, 2015

Death masks, post-mortem drawings and other spooky and disquieting portraits... Come and see how portraits of infamous Australians were used in the 19th century.

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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.