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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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"As straight as a reed" Henry John Rous (Image plate from Vanity Fair)

1870
Alfred Thompson

chromolithograph on paper (sheet: 35.0 cm x 23.0 cm)

Henry John Rous (1795–1877), naval officer, racing enthusiast and politician, arrived in Sydney in February 1827 as the commander of the frigate HMS Rainbow. During his first several months in New South Wales, he organised Sydney’s first regatta; made a return voyage to New Zealand; and then escorted governor Ralph Darling on a ‘tour of inspection’ to Newcastle, Port Macquarie and Moreton Bay, during the course of which he named Stradbroke Island in honour of his father, 1st Earl of Stradbroke. He was recalled to India in mid-1827, but before leaving secured a grant of land so that he might later introduce to the colony ‘entire horses of a superior description, blood mares, horned cattle, &c’. Consequently, on his return to Sydney in May 1828, he brought ‘three fine thoroughbreds’ with him and was duly elected an honorary member of the Agricultural Society. During August and September 1828, Rous undertook another journey northward in the Rainbow, charting and exploring the Tweed and Richmond Rivers (the latter of which he named) and thus alerting the colonists to another source of red cedar, a lucrative commodity. Recalled again to India in October 1828, Rous was farewelled with a dinner at which he was commended for having ‘bestowed such lasting public benefit’ on the colony. He eventually attained the rank of admiral, and after retiring from naval service devoted himself to his longstanding love of horses and the track, becoming public handicapper in 1855, devising the weight-for-age scale, and managing the Duke of Bedford’s stables for many years. He died, childless, in 1877.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2015

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

Alfred Thompson

Henry John Rous (age 75 in 1870)

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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