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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.

Les Bury

Louis Kahan

fibre-tipped pen on paper (sheet: 56 cm x 38.1 cm)

Hon Les Bury CMG (1913-1986), politician, was member for Wentworth in Sydney’s eastern suburbs from 1956 to 1974. Born in London and educated at Queen’s College Cambridge, he came to Australia in 1935 to work in the Bank of New South Wales and keenly participated in economic discussion groups of all kinds. After the war he became an economist in External Affairs under HV Evatt; in 1946 he went to London with Nugget Coombs, and in 1948 he joined Treasury. He was the Australian representative on the International Monetary Fund from 1951 to 1956. His first ministerial appointment, in 1961, was as minister for air. The following year he angered Menzies by publicly stating that there was no need for Australians to worry about the UK’s joining the Common Market. As minister for housing from 1963 to 1966 he introduced the first home buyer’s grant. That year, he was appointed minister for labour and national service, and worked to remove barriers to married women’s employment in the public service, but it was the time of the Vietnam war and he was also responsible for carrying conscription through. As Phillip Lynch was minister for the Army, protesters sometimes chanted ‘Lynch Bury, bury Lynch’. In 1969, he became treasurer, replacing William McMahon, but after eighteen months, when McMahon became prime minister, he was shunted to foreign affairs. Five months later, in August 1971, he was removed; McMahon announced it was due to poor health, but Bury publicly claimed to have been sacked. He retired from parliament in 1974.

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

Accession number: 2017.86

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Louis Kahan

Hon. Les Bury CMG

Donated by

Lily Kahan (52 portraits)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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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.

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.

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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.