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A Politician "Unlock the Lands!" [The Hon. James MacPhearson Grant] from the series "Masks and Faces", 1874

Tom Durkin and The Weekly Times (publisher)

lithograph (sheet: 33.5 cm x 20 cm)

James Macpherson Grant (1822–1885), lawyer and politician, was born in Inverness-shire, Scotland, and was fourteen years old when his family emigrated to Sydney. After a period in California and then on the Bendigo diggings, he settled in Melbourne and returned to practising law, having completed his training in Sydney in the 1840s. Known for his radical views, Grant addressed a public meeting in Melbourne in support of the Eureka rebels in December 1854 and later successfully defended them, for no fee, against charges of sedition. Grant entered Parliament in 1855, representing Sandhurst on the Legislative Council before being elected to the Legislative Assembly on the advent of responsible government the following year. As President of the Board of Lands and Works and Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey from 1864 to 1870, Grant succeeded in passing a land act which enabled selectors to take up 20 acres at two shillings per acre. A second land bill allowed the selection of up to 320 acres conditional upon cultivating and improving the land, with the option of converting to freehold. Returning to the Legislative Assembly in 1871, Grant twice served as Minister for Justice and was Chief Secretary and Minister for Public Instruction between 1881 and 1883.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2016

Accession number: 2016.14

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Tom Durkin (age 21 in 1874)

The Weekly Times

Hon. James M. Grant (age 52 in 1874)

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