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.

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

  Denis Napthine, Premier 2013-14

Denis Napthine