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Sir Charles Gavan Duffy
, c. 1870

by Batchelder & Co. Photo

carte de visite photograph (support: 10.5 cm x 6.3 cm, image: 10.0 cm x 5.8 cm, oval: 6.1 cm x 4.5 cm)

Sir Charles Gavan Duffy (1816–1903), journalist and politician, was heavily involved in Irish nationalist causes in the 1840s as a member of the Young Ireland group and the editor of a radical newspaper, The Nation. After a dispiriting stint in the House of Commons, and in financial difficulty, he emigrated to Victoria in 1856 and was soon elected to the Legislative Assembly. When his compatriot John O’Shanassy became premier in 1857, Duffy was appointed Commissioner for Public Works; subsequently, he served as Commissioner for Crown Lands. As in his political life in Ireland, in Victoria Duffy championed the rights of the tenant and labouring classes, introducing legislation designed to prevent squatters and speculators from purchasing vast tracts of land. In June 1871, he became premier; in 1877 he was knighted and elected speaker of the Legislative Assembly. In the midst of this, Duffy became involved in discussions about federation, chairing a number of committees on the issue from the late 1850s. On quitting politics in 1880, Duffy retired to the south of France and published various accounts of his political experiences. He had eleven children from his three marriages; one of his sons, Sir Frank Gavan Duffy, was the fourth Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased with funds provided by Graham Smith 2009
Accession number: 2009.79