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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.

Sir Walter Murdoch

1920s (printed later)
an unknown artist

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 19.8 cm x 15.1 cm, image: 18.6 cm x 14.0 cm)

Sir Walter Murdoch KCMG (1874–1970), academic and essayist, was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and came to Australia with his family in 1884. On graduating from Melbourne University, Murdoch went into teaching for several years before being appointed an assistant lecturer in the English department of his alma mater. By this time, he had begun writing articles and reviews for The Argus. He moved to Perth in 1913 to become the University of Western Australia’s founding professor of English. A favourite with students and colleagues, Murdoch developed a wide following outside the university through his newspaper columns, essays and radio shows, which addressed a range of ‘serious’ or scholarly subjects in humorous or accessible ways. Syndicated for publication in the newspapers owned by his nephew, Keith Murdoch, many of his essays were also later collected and published as anthologies. He is considered one of the most popular and widely-read Australian writers of the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Murdoch served as the Chancellor of the University of Western Australia from 1943 to 1948; he was appointed a CMG in 1939 and KCMG in 1964. Perth’s Murdoch University is named after him.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2012

Artist and subject

Sir Walter Murdoch KCMG (age 46 in 1920)

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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 National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency