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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.

Sir John McEwen

Louis Kahan

fibre-tipped pen on paper (sheet: 56.0 cm x 38.2 cm)

Sir John (‘Black Jack’) McEwen CH GCMG PC (1900-1980) was leader of the Australian Country Party and deputy prime minister from 1958 to 1971. He took up a land grant after war service and built up a productive holding in Victoria. He joined the Country Party at 19, and became minister for the interior in 1937, a portfolio with many and varied responsibilities including immigration, Aborigines, mining, oil exploration and railways. After serving on the Advisory War Council he had a continuous run of 21 years as a minister during which he secured trade agreements with Britain and negotiated the Agreement on Commerce with Japan (in 1973, he was appointed to the Order of the Rising Sun). He was an articulate proponent of protectionism, to the extent that it was known as ‘McEwenism’. During Menzies’s prime ministership McEwen acted as prime minister ten times, and after Harold Holt’s death in late 1967 he was appointed caretaker prime minister. McEwen retired from politics in early 1971; in 1975, he sold his beloved farm to spend his last years in Toorak.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Mrs Lily Kahan 2017
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program

Accession number: 2017.84

Currently not on display

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Subject professions

Government and leadership

Donated by

Lily Kahan (52 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.

Self portrait, 1949 Louis Kahan
Self portrait, 1949 Louis Kahan
Self portrait, 1949 Louis Kahan
Self portrait, 1949 Louis Kahan

A guy from Paris

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2018

Sarah Engledow on a foundational gallery figure who was quick on the draw.

Bob Hawke, 2012 Luke Cornish
Bob Hawke, 2012 Luke Cornish
Bob Hawke, 2012 Luke Cornish
Bob Hawke, 2012 Luke Cornish

Primed

Some Prime Ministers

Previous exhibition, 2019

Seventeen of Australia’s thirty prime ministers to date are represented in the contrasting sizes, moods and mediums of these portraits.

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.

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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.