History of the Premiers Portraits

The Hon. Frederick Grimwade, President of the Legislative Council 1979-1985, initiated the idea of a portrait gallery for former Premiers of Victoria. He arranged for paintings to be commissioned from photographs of former non-living Premiers and life studies of living former Premiers.
Every Premier since 1933 (with the exception of Ian MacFarlan, who was Premier for 51 days) is represented in the portrait collection. Prior to this date there are portraits of only 4 former Premiers.

The portraits were originally displayed in the corridor leading to the Members Dining Room, appropriately named the ‘Premiers’ Corridor’.

Grimwade’s initiative was a success and eventually the collection of portraits grew so large that another space in the building had to be considered for their display.

In 2001, the year of the Centenary of Federation and Sesquicentenary of the Legislative Council, the portraits were moved to Queen’s Hall. In the Roman Revival style architecture of the lofty Hall, the group of portraits are positioned around a centrally placed marble statue of Queen Victoria. In the gallery above, a matching pair of portraits of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert can be seen. The collective display is evocative of the history of Australian Federation.

There are currently 18 Premiers portraits in this collection. The 17 most recent are on display in Queen's Hall, while the 1893 portrait of Premier James Paterson, the largest in the collection, hangs in Premiers' Corridor.

Larger images and information about the portraits can be seen by clicking on the thumbnails.



 Duncan Gillies, premier 1886-90

Duncan Gillies

 James Patterson, premier 1893-4

James Patterson

 Harry Lawson, premier 1918-24

Harry Lawson

 John Allan, premier 1924-7

John Allan

 Stanley Argyle, premier 1932-5

Stanley Argyle

 Albert Dunstan, premier 1935-43, 1943-5

Albert Dunstan

 Thomas Hollway, premier 1947-8, 1948-50

Thomas Hollway

 John McDonald, premier 1950, 1950-2

John McDonald

 John Cain Senior, premier 1943, 1945-7, 1952-5

John Cain Senior

 Henry Bolte, premier 1955-72

Henry Bolte

 Rupert (Dick) Hamer, premier 1972-1981

Rupert (Dick) Hamer

 Lindsay Thompson, premier 1981-2

Lindsay Thompson

 John Cain junior, premier 1982-90

John Cain, Junior

 Joan Kirner, Premier 1990-2

Joan Kirner

 Jeff Kennett, Premier 1992-99

Jeff Kennett

 Steve Bracks, Premier 1999-2007

Steve Bracks

 John Brumby, Premier 2007-10

John Brumby

 Ted Baillieu, Premier 2010-13

Ted Baillieu