Skip to main content

To help keep our visitors and staff safe, please book your spot before visiting.

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 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.

Mary Windeyer on the verandah at Tomago, NSW

c. 1880s
an unknown artist

glass plate negative (support: 10.7 cm x 8.2 cm)

Mary Windeyer (née Bolton, 1837-1912), women's rights campaigner, was one of the nine children of Robert Thorley Bolton, a clergyman who emigrated to New South Wales in 1839. Bolton was the Anglican minister in the Hunter Valley village of Hexham, less than ten kilometres from the Windeyer family estate of Tomago. In December 1857, Mary married William Charles Windeyer. The couple had nine children, one of whom died in infancy. A devout woman, Mary was encouraged in her various charitable works by her husband and influenced by his views. Her energies initially were directed to causes relating to orphans and infant health. In 1874, she supported the establishment of a foundling hospital (later the Ashfield Infants' Home) which the following year became a home for destitute, unmarried mothers and their babies. Windeyer's friendship with Sir Henry Parkes facilitated, in 1881, the passage of the State Children's Relief Act and the establishment of a board (on which Mary served) to oversee the fostering of children from orphanages. Mary was also a pioneer of the women's rights movement in Australia, supporting Windeyer's reform of divorce laws and campaigning for increased employment opportunities for women, sponsoring (among other projects) a shorthand writers and typists' society and hospital training for nurses. She was the inaugural president of the Womanhood Suffrage League of New South Wales (1891); a founder of the Women's Hospital, Darlinghurst (1896); and prominent in the Women's Christian Temperance Union of New South Wales. Her fifth daughter, Margaret, followed Mary into women's rights campaigns and, along with her mother, helped found the Women's College at Sydney University.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the Windeyer family 2012

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

Mary Windeyer (age 43 in 1880)

Subject professions

Activism

Donated by

Jim Windeyer (16 portraits)

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.

Sir William Charles Windeyer
Sir William Charles Windeyer
Sir William Charles Windeyer
Sir William Charles Windeyer

Private virtues public lives

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2010

Family affections are preserved in a fine selection of intimate portraits.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

The Gallery

Visit us, learn with us, support us or work with us! Here’s a range of information about planning your visit, our history and more!

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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 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