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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.

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Walter A Gale

1917
Boz

pen and ink on paper (sheet: 45.5 cm x 19.2 cm)

Walter Frederick Gale (1865-1945), banker and astronomer, joined the Savings Bank of New South Wales in 1888. In 1897 he was appointed accountant at the Newcastle branch, in 1914 manager at Newtown, in 1916 manager at Barrack Street, Sydney, and in 1917 manager and chief inspector at the head office. He retired in 1925, though when the Government Savings Bank of New South Wales closed in 1931 Gale became chairman of a committee formed to protect depositors. He was manager of Hoskins Investments Ltd until 1938. He had become interested in astronomy with the appearance of the Great Comet in 1882, and built a telescope in 1884. In 1893 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, London and visited Chile on a Lick Observatory eclipse expedition. The Illustrated Sydney News of 18 February 1893 carried an article titled ‘An Interesting Celestial Neighbour, Mars’ accompanied by four of his drawings of the planet. He also published drawings in the Journal and Memoirs of the British Astronomical Association. He pored over the surface features of Mars, was the first to note some, and believed that there must be life on the planet. He also held that the great turbulent activity in the atmosphere of Jupiter must be evidence of an internal energy source—this is now recognized. A founder and organizing secretary in 1894 of the New South Wales branch of the British Astronomical Association, he was its secretary for several years and later, for twenty years, its president. He was also chairman of the board of visitors of Sydney Observatory and a trustee of the Public Library of New South Wales from 1913 to 1937. Sweeping the sky on every clear night, he discovered independently seven comets, three of which bear his name, and some double stars which are also named after him. In 1935 he received the Jackson-Gwilt medal of the Royal Astronomical Society for his discoveries of comets and his work for astronomy in New South Wales. His other interests included coins, stamps and handwriting.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 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

Boz

Walter Frederick Gale (age 52 in 1917)

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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.

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