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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.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Charles Joseph La Trobe

c. 1857
Samuel Bellin (engraver) after Francis Grant

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.

Purchased 2010

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

Francis Grant

Samuel Bellin (age 58 in 1857)

Charles Joseph La Trobe (age 56 in 1857)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

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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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency