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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.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Sir Edward Holden

1945
Leslie Bowles

cast bronze on granite base (including base: 43.0 cm x 20.0 cm depth 24.0 cm)

Sir Edward Wheewall Holden (1885–1947) was an industrialist and politician. During the Boer War his family’s Adelaide saddlery business won large contracts, and later branched into motor-body trimming. Holden’s Motor Body Builders Ltd was formed in 1917, after Edward Holden designed a prototype standard body for imported chassis. Holden’s grew exponentially, and in 1923 began producing bodies for the American-owned General Motors. Holden oversaw its further expansion, incorporating the latest in automated technology. In 1931 GM bought the company – undertaking to maintain its Australian character – and Holden became chairman of General Motors-Holden’s Ltd. He served as a Liberal member of the Legislative Council from 1935 to 1947 and was knighted in 1945. Thereafter he continued his corporate service with bodies including the South Australian Industries Assistance Corporation, the Chamber of Commerce and the Bank of Adelaide. His energetic contribution to public life was perpetuated by his daughter Nancy (later Dame Nancy Buttfield), the first South Australian woman in an Australian parliament.

Leslie Bowles was born in Sydney and began his studies in modelling and carving in Brisbane. In 1910 he won a scholarship to study at the South London School of Sculpture and the Royal Academy School. After serving in the Royal Tank Corps in France from 1914 to 1919, he returned to Australia and worked on the production of dioramas for the Australian War Memorial. He was head sculptor at the Memorial from 1925 to 1931.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Bequest of John J Holden 2005

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

Leslie Bowles (age 60 in 1945)

Sir Edward Wheewall Holden (age 60 in 1945)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

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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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency