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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.

A Vanquished Knight "Wroth with Kilmore" [The Hon. John O'Shanassy, K.C.M.G.] from the series "Masks and Faces", 1874

Tom Durkin and The Weekly Times (publisher)

lithograph on paper (sheet: 35.2 cm x 21.5 cm)

Sir John O’Shanassy KCMG (1818–1883), politician and businessman, arrived in Melbourne from Ireland in 1839. Later the proprietor of a prosperous drapery business, he was briefly a councillor of the City of Melbourne before being elected to Victoria’s first Legislative Council in 1851. In 1854, shortly before the Eureka Rebellion, he was appointed to the commission of inquiry into the goldfields, his subsequent report finding that many of the miners’ claims were justified. He won the seat of Kilmore in the Legislative Assembly in 1856, and between 1858 and 1863 he served as premier three times. In addition, O’Shanassy acquired substantial landholdings (in NSW and, later, Queensland); was a chairman of the Colonial Bank; a trustee of the Public Library; and the founder of the St Patrick’s Society. The Pope named him a Knight of the Order of St Gregory in 1866 for his efforts in the cause of Catholic education. Though his political influence had begun to wane during the 1860s, he returned to the Legislative Assembly as the member for Belfast (Port Fairy) in 1877, making his last speech of note in 1882. His grave in the Melbourne General Cemetery is topped by a soaring Celtic cross.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2016

Accession number: 2016.5

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Tom Durkin (age 21 in 1874)

The Weekly Times

John O'Shanassy (age 56 in 1874)

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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.

A Goldfields Member "The Dove of Ararat" [The Hon. William McLellan M.L.A] from the series "Masks and Faces", 1874 Tom Durkin, The Weekly Times
A Goldfields Member "The Dove of Ararat" [The Hon. William McLellan M.L.A] from the series "Masks and Faces", 1874 Tom Durkin, The Weekly Times
A Goldfields Member "The Dove of Ararat" [The Hon. William McLellan M.L.A] from the series "Masks and Faces", 1874 Tom Durkin, The Weekly Times
A Goldfields Member "The Dove of Ararat" [The Hon. William McLellan M.L.A] from the series "Masks and Faces", 1874 Tom Durkin, The Weekly Times

Showing character

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2016

Joanna Gilmour on Tom Durkin playing with Melbourne's manhood.

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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.