Skip to main content

Ticketed entry is in place to safely manage your visit so please book ahead. Need to cancel or rejig? Email bookings@npg.gov.au

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.

Edward Hargraves, c. 1884

Henry King

albumen silver photograph on cabinet card (support: 15.2 cm x 10.5 cm, image: 14.7 cm x 10.0 cm)

More images of this artwork

Edward Hargraves (1816–1891), adventurer and speculator, claimed credit for the discovery of gold in New South Wales. A soldier’s son, Hargraves ran away to sea at fourteen and eventually ended up in Sydney, where he worked at various jobs before heading to California in 1849. After eighteen fruitless months there he came back to New South Wales hell-bent on earning the reward on offer to anyone who located substantial gold deposits in the colony. With the assistance of three others and employing the fossicking methods he’d learned in California, Hargraves found flecks of gold in the Macquarie River in February 1851 and soon afterwards returned to Sydney to convince the Colonial Secretary of his entitlement to the £500 reward. Meanwhile, his partners had found gold in more promising quantities. Despite being urged to secrecy, Hargraves announced the location of the finds at a meeting in Bathurst in May. Within days, the gold rush had begun. Hargraves was awarded a further £10,000 by the government and appointed Commissioner of Crown Lands. In England in 1853–54 he was presented to Queen Victoria and in 1855 he published Australia and its goldfields. But he was soon broke again, and in 1861 attempted to secure a portion of a £5000 Victorian government reward for the discoveries of gold made there ten years earlier. He was later invited to prospect for gold by the governments of South and Western Australia, but his lavish lifestyle ultimately left him almost penniless. Hargraves’s partners in the 1851 find were eventually compensated to the comparatively paltry tune of £1000 each. In 1890, after years of petitioning, they were finally acknowledged as ‘undoubtedly the first discoverers of gold obtained in Australia in payable quantity'.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2015

Accession number: 2015.21

Currently not on display

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

Artist and subject

Henry King (age 29 in 1884)

Edward Hammond Hargraves (age 68 in 1884)

Related 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.

Lady Barkly, 1863 Batchelder & O'Neill
Lady Barkly, 1863 Batchelder & O'Neill
Lady Barkly, 1863 Batchelder & O'Neill
Lady Barkly, 1863 Batchelder & O'Neill

Carte-o-mania!

Previous exhibition, 2018

Drawn from the NPG’s burgeoning collection of cartes de visite, Carte-o-mania! celebrates the wit, style and substance of the pocket-sized portraits that were taken and collected like crazy in post-goldrush Australia.

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

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.