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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.

William St Leonards Robertson

c. 1865
an unknown artist

ambrotype, hand-coloured (case: 9.5 cm x 8.2 cm depth 0.9 cm, sight: 6.9 cm x 5.5 cm)

This work is one of six photographs donated to the National Portrait Gallery in 2011 by the descendants of William Robertson (1798–1874), a key player in the settlement of Victoria in the 1830s. A farmer’s son, Robertson came to Van Diemen’s Land in 1822 and took up land before going into business with his brothers in an emporium in Hobart. In September 1834, he married Margaret Whyte (1811–1866), the daughter of fellow Scottish settlers. In 1835, Robertson joined a number of other investors in a scheme to expand pastoral activities into the Port Phillip district. Over the course of the next decade, he became a major landholder in the new colony, with substantial holdings in the area around Colac. He oversaw the operation of his pastoral empire from his Hobart home until 1852 and settled permanently at his Victorian property, Corangamarah, later called The Hill, in the early 1860s. The group of donated Robertson family photographs includes hand-coloured daguerreotypes of William and Margaret, and of their second eldest son, William junior (1839–1892). Also in the group are portraits of William Robertson junior's wife, Martha Mary Robertson (nee Murphy, 1844-1909) depicted with their eldest child, William St Leonards Robertson (1864-1950) - who is also the subject of this work.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Fiona Turner (née Robertson) and John Robertson 2011. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.

Artist and subject

William St.Leonards Robertson (age 1 in 1865)

Donated by

Fiona Turner (6 portraits)

John Robertson (6 portraits)

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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.

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