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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 Victorian Knight "Thrice Chief Secretary" [Sir James McCulloch K.C.M.G.] from the series "Masks and Faces"

1874
Tom Durkin and The Weekly Times (publisher)

lithograph on paper (sheet: 32.4 cm x 18.4 cm)

Sir James McCulloch KCMG (1819–1893) served four separate terms as premier of Victoria between 1863 and 1877. Born in Glasgow, he came to Australia in 1853 having become a junior partner in the merchant firm J & A Dennistoun, a branch of which he established in Melbourne. He soon became a leading figure in the colonial business community, twice serving as president of the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce; forming a new company, McCulloch, Sellar & Co; and also acquiring property. He was elected to the first Legislative Assembly in 1856. A supporter of landowners’ interests, McCulloch’s dissatisfaction with legislation proposing to raise pastoral rents led him to help overthrow the administration of Charles Gavan Duffy in 1863. McCulloch became premier and chief secretary in June that year, fulfilling both roles until 1869. He became premier for the third time in 1870, shortly after being knighted. Resigning his seat amidst difficulties relating to trade tariffs and property tax, he acted as agent-general in London during 1872–1873, returning to the Victorian parliament as member for Warrnambool in 1874. McCulloch was premier again (and treasurer) from October 1875 until 1877. After leaving politics, he concentrated on his directorships with companies including the Bank of New South Wales and the London Chartered Bank. He was a trustee of the Public Library, Museum, and National Gallery from 1870 until 1886, in which year he returned to England.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2016

Artist and subject

Tom Durkin (age 21 in 1874)

The Weekly Times

Sir James McCulloch KCMG (age 55 in 1874)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

Related information

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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.

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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency