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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.

Charles Joseph La Trobe, c. 1857

Francis Grant and Samuel Bellin (engraver)

mezzotint on paper (frame: 80.5 cm x 54.0 cm, sheet: 64.4 cm x 39.5 cm, image: 56.0 cm x 34.3 cm)

Charles Joseph La Trobe (1801-1875), colonial administrator, travelled widely in Europe and America before beginning his colonial career in the West Indies in 1837. Two years later he was appointed superintendent of the Port Phillip District, answerable to the governor of New South Wales, George Gipps. La Trobe had some difficulty handling a disparate collection of separatist free settlers who resented control from Sydney, and was attacked in the Town Council and the Argus as the 1840s wore on. However, he gained popularity in 1849 for forwarding a cargo of convicts to Sydney in defiance of the Colonial Office. In 1850, when Victoria became a colony, La Trobe was appointed its lieutenant-governor. Gold was discovered the following year, and his new government had immediately to rise to the nightmarish administrative challenge of the gold rush. La Trobe left Victoria in 1854, having established the Melbourne Botanic Gardens and having provided key support for the foundation of several important public health and cultural institutions, including the hospital and the university.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2010

Accession number: 2010.33

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Francis Grant

Samuel Bellin (age 58 in 1857)

Charles Joseph La Trobe (age 56 in 1857)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

Related information

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Permanent collection catalogue

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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.

The last of England 1855
The last of England 1855
The last of England 1855
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Pre-Raphaelite Profile

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2006

In 2006 the National Portrait Gallery acquired a splendid portrait of Victoria's first governor, Lieutenant Governor Charles Joseph La Trobe by Thomas Woolner.

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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.