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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.

Study for portrait of Sir Rupert 'Dick" Hamer'

2009
Lewis Miller

oil on linen (support: 30.5 cm x 25.5 cm)

Sir Rupert ‘Dick’ Hamer AC KCMG (1916-2004) was premier of Victoria from 1972 to 1981. Born in Kew, he was educated at Geelong Grammar and Trinity College, the University of Melbourne, where he gained his master’s degree in law. During World War 2 he served with the AIF in the Middle East, New Guinea and Europe; he was a ‘Rat of Tobruk’. On his return to Melbourne he became a partner in the law firm Smith and Emmerton. He became the member for East Yarra in 1958, and held this position until 1971, when he became the member for Kew. The following year, when Sir Henry Bolte retired, he became premier. Taking a softer, more progressive approach than Bolte, he created the ombudsman’s office, set up the Historic Buildings Preservation Council, abolished capital punishment, decriminalised homosexuality and established the Equal Opportunity Board; he shepherded the development of the Arts Centre, established the Land Conservation Council and came up with the concept of Victoria as the Garden State. He also expanded the tram network. In retirement he served various organisations including the Save the Children Fund, the Victorian State Opera and the Australian Republican Movement. In death he was praised by Liberal and Labor leaders alike for his intelligence, compassion and democratic commitment to the wellbeing of the community; paying tribute to his leadership, Phillip Law said ‘the state has other functions than simply helping selfish people to get money.’ The main concert hall of the Melbourne Arts Centre was re-named Hamer Hall not long after his state funeral in 2004. A biography by Tim Colebatch, Dick Hamer: The liberal Liberal was published in 2014.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Sir Andrew Grimwade CBE 2018
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Lewis Miller/Copyright Agency, 2021

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Lewis Miller (age 50 in 2009)

Sir Rupert Hamer AC KCMG ED

Donated by

Sir Andrew Grimwade CBE (1 portrait)

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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 past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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