The Rt Hon Joseph Benedict Chifley (1885-1951) was Labor Prime Minister of Australia from 1945 to 1949, after serving as John Curtin's closest colleague and Treasurer in the Labor government of 1941-5. As Prime Minister, Chifley won the respect of most Australians, even after his unsuccessful attempt to nationalise the banks and Labor's defeat in 1949. His sudden death in 1951 overshadowed the celebration of the first fifty years of Federation, and he lay in state here in Kings Hall before being buried in Bathurst.
Well-known cartoonist John Frith based this plaster bust on sketches he made during a private sitting on the night Chifley died.
Gift of the Frith family 2006
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2006.74
More about the artist and subject
Permanent collection catalogue
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.