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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.

Governor Sir Robert Duff with Lady Duff, Lord Hopetoun and Vice-Regal Party

1893
Kerry & Co

gelatin silver photograph on paper (backing sheet: 26.6 cm x 35.3 cm, image: 20 cm x 14.6 cm)

Sir Robert William Duff (1835–1895) was governor of New South Wales from May 1893 until March 1895. The only son of a Scottish landowner, he joined the Royal Navy at age thirteen and served for over twenty years, ultimately attaining the rank of commander. Meanwhile, he was elected to the House of Commons as the member for Banffshire, fulfilling this role until he was appointed governor in March 1893. Knighted before he left England, he arrived in Sydney in May 1893 with his wife Louisa. (At that time, Lord Hopetoun was governor of Victoria; he became the first governor general in 1901.) Before the end of 1893, Duff became embroiled in a political dilemma when, having agreed to an act to re-draw existing electoral rolls and boundaries, he assented to a request from Premier Sir George Dibbs to prorogue Parliament (thereby sparing Dibbs from being forced to resign). Duff was accused of partisanship by Sir Henry Parkes and was strongly chastised by the Colonial Office. During a visit to Tasmania in early 1895, Duff became ill; he returned to Sydney, where he died from a liver disorder and septicaemia in March. He was the first New South Wales governor to die in office. His wife and seven children survived him.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2014

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

Kerry & Co

Sir Robert William Duff (age 58 in 1893)

Rt Hon John Adrian Louis Hope KT GCMG GCVO PC (age 33 in 1893)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

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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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