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Gamaliel Butler
, c.1810

by an unknown artist

watercolour on ivory (frame: 9.5 cm x 6.7 cm, oval: 7.0 cm x 5.7 cm)

Gamaliel Butler (1783–1852), lawyer and free settler, emigrated to Van Diemen’s Land in 1824 with his wife, Sarah. A London-born lawyer of merchant stock, Butler had come to the colony to attend to an investment and to the business interests of his deceased brother-in-law. Though initially intending to return to London and to the six children he and Sarah had left there in the care of relatives, Butler saw opportunity in the colony and decided to stay. He was admitted as a practitioner of the Supreme Court soon after his arrival and later established his own law firm in Hobart. Butler also became a significant landowner, acquiring properties such as Shene, an estate near Pontville, and the Battery Point villa, Stowell. Each of Gamaliel and Sarah’s six surviving English-born children – four sons and two daughters – eventually came to Van Diemen’s Land; another six children were born in Hobart. A director of the bank of Van Diemen’s Land and a supporter of various charitable causes, Butler died in Hobart in February 1852. His law firm, now Butler, McIntyre and Butler, is still in operation and is the oldest law firm in Australia.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 2015
Accession number: 2015.3