Skip to main content

We’re thrilled to welcome you back to the Gallery! Please see what we need you to do first.

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.

The Hon Lionel Murphy, 1978

Judith O'Conal-Prinz

oil on board (frame: 93.0 cm x 80.5 cm, support: 63.5 cm x 76.2 cm)

Lionel Murphy QC (1922-1986), High Court judge and Labor politician, grew up in Sydney, studied science and law at Sydney University, was admitted to the Bar in 1947, and became a QC in 1960. A long-term member of the Labor party, he was elected a senator for NSW in 1961, and was Leader of the Opposition in the Senate from 1967 to 1972. During the Whitlam government he served as Attorney General and Minister for Customs and Excise. In February 1975 he was appointed a Justice of the High Court, a position he retained until his death in 1986. Murphy’s most important legislative achievement was the revolutionary Family Law Act 1975, which introduced the principle of no fault divorce and established the Family Court of Australia. He also passed legislation substantially abolishing appeals to the Privy Council; removing censorship; providing freedom of access to government information; reforming corporations and trade practices law; protecting the environment; abolishing the death penalty; and outlawing racial and other discrimination. He established a systematic legal aid service for all courts, set up the Australian Law Reform Commission (of which Michael Kirby was inaugural chairman) and the Australian Institute of Criminology, and took the French Government to the International Court of Justice to protest against its nuclear tests in the Pacific. A supernova remnant, SNR N86, is named The Lionel-Murphy SNR in tribute to his lifelong interest in science.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the Lionel Murphy Foundation 2012

Accession number: 2012.145

Currently not on display

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

Artist and subject

Judith O'Conal-Prinz

Lionel Murphy (age 56 in 1978)

Subject professions

Law and justice

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.

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

Support your Portrait Gallery

We depend on your support to keep creating our programs, exhibitions, publications and building the amazing portrait collection!

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.