Skip to main content

Ticketed entry is in place to safely manage your visit so please book ahead. Need to cancel or rejig? Email bookings@npg.gov.au

Menu

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.

William Charles Wentworth -The Australian Patriot, c. 1870

an unknown artist

lithograph on paper (sheet: 27.5 cm x 20.6 cm, image: 22.2 cm x 15.8 cm)

William Wentworth (1790-1872) was a landowner, barrister and statesman. He was born on the way to Norfolk Island to a convict, Catherine Crowley, and D'Arcy Wentworth, who was travelling as the ship's doctor. His mother died when he was ten, and he was educated in England, where he was acknowledged by his father's elevated connections. Returning to Sydney in 1810, he gained a government appointment and a grant of land on the Nepean River. In 1813 he crossed the Blue Mountains with William Lawson and Gregory Blaxland, an expedition that not only led to the opening up of huge areas of New South Wales for grazing, but saw Wentworth personally rewarded with further acreage. In England and Europe for eight years, he studied law and wrote a tract promoting emigration to the Australian colonies. He had already written a number of anonymous pieces criticising prominent figures and on his return to Sydney in 1824, he co-founded the colony's first independent newspaper, the Australian, which attacked the regime of Governor Darling, campaigned for representative government and trial by jury, and championed the emancipists against the exclusives, characterised by Wentworth as the 'yellow snakes of the colony'. In the late 1820s he defended himself scintillatingly against libel charges. A huge landowner and popular hero by 1831, Wentworth threw a party for 4 000 people at his home in Vaucluse at the end of Darling's term. In the 1830s he prepared several drafts of an amended constitution for the colony, which had long been his dream. A member of the Legislative Council from 1843, between 1848 and 1850 he moved to set up state primary education in the colony, and also to establish the University of Sydney. He chaired the select committee that drafted a constitution for a self-governing New South Wales in 1853. Having made a fundamental contribution to the subsequent shape of Australian democracy, for his last eighteen years he lived mostly in England.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2010

Accession number: 2010.116

Currently not on display

Copyright image request form
Request a digital copy of an image for publication

Artist and subject

William Wentworth (age 80 in 1870)

Related portraits

1. William Charles Wentworth, 1854. All Thomas Woolner.

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.

William Charles Wentworth -The Australian Patriot, c. 1870 an unknown artist
William Charles Wentworth -The Australian Patriot, c. 1870 an unknown artist
William Charles Wentworth -The Australian Patriot, c. 1870 an unknown artist
William Charles Wentworth -The Australian Patriot, c. 1870 an unknown artist

The Wentworths – Hidden in Plain Sight

Magazine article by Grace Carroll, 2015

Grace Carroll on the gendered world of the Wentworths.

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

The Gallery

Explore portraiture and come face to face with Australian identity, history, culture, creativity and diversity.

Plan your visit

Timed ticketing, location, accessibility and amenities

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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.