Skip to main content

Timed ticketing is in place to safely manage visits to the Gallery, so please book ahead.

Menu

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.

Album of cartes de visite and cabinet cards compiled by William St Leonards Robertson, 1860s - c. 1900

Various

24 page brown leather bound album of 119 cartes de visite and 16 cabinet card photographs (closed: 29.5 cm x 22.5 cm depth 5.3 cm)
Image not available

William Robertson (1798-1874), pastoralist and entrepreneur, was a key player in the settlement of Victoria in the 1830s. A farmer's son, Robertson came to Van Diemen's Land in 1824 and took up land and cattle runs in the midlands before establishing a business in Hobart. By 1835, he and his brother, John, had amassed sufficient capital to join a number of other investors, including Joseph Gellibrand and John Batman, in a scheme to expand pastoral activities into the unclaimed districts along the northern shores of Bass Strait. They helped finance Batman's exploratory trip to Port Phillip in 1835, during the course of which he made a 'treaty' with the Aboriginal people that he later used as the basis for a 600,000 acre land claim on behalf of the syndicate - the Port Phillip Association. Robertson travelled to Port Phillip in 1836 and 1837 to select his share of the land, his holdings by the late 1840s concentrated in the area around Colac. Robertson stocked his properties with 'the best bulls and cows that could be got in the colonies' as well as making return journeys to Britain to select livestock for export. He oversaw the operation of his pastoral empire from his home, Melrose, in Battery Point, until retiring from his Hobart business in 1852. He settled permanently at his Colac property, Corangamarah, in the early 1860s. His obituary described him as a 'founder' of Victoria's fortunes: 'He took an important part in its early struggles for existence, and never ceased his exertions in it until by his acumen, energy, and perseverance, his lands became a vast possession and himself a millionaire.'

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Malcolm Robertson in memory of William Thomas Robertson 2018
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program

Accession number: 2018.38.1-135

Currently not on display

Copyright image request form
Request a digital copy of an image for publication

Artist and subject

Various

William St.Leonards Robertson

William Robertson (age 62 in 1860)

Margaret Robertson (age 49 in 1860)

William Robertson Jnr (age 21 in 1860)

Martha M. Robertson (age 16 in 1860)

Donated by

Malcolm Robertson (16 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.

Miss Robertson of Colac (Dolly), 1885-86
Miss Robertson of Colac (Dolly), 1885-86
Miss Robertson of Colac (Dolly), 1885-86
Miss Robertson of Colac (Dolly), 1885-86

Brothers on farms

Magazine article by Malcolm Robertson, 2011

Malcolm Robertson tells the family history of one of Australia's earliest patrons of the arts, his Scottish born great great great grandfather, William Robertson.

Self portrait, c. 1849 Charles Rodius
Self portrait, c. 1849 Charles Rodius
Self portrait, c. 1849 Charles Rodius
Self portrait, c. 1849 Charles Rodius

Elegance in exile

Portrait drawings from colonial Australia

Previous exhibition, 2012

Elegance in exile is an exhibition surveying the work of Richard Read senior, Thomas Bock, Thomas Griffiths Wainewright and Charles Rodius: four artists who, though exiled to Australia as convicts, created many of the most significant and elegant portraits of the colonial period.

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.

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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.