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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.

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Sir Edward John Lees Hallstrom

n.d.
Max Dupain OBE

gelatin silver photograph on paper (image/sheet: 24.0 cm x 29.0 cm)

Sir Edward John Lees Hallstrom (1886–1970) manufacturer, philanthropist and zoo trustee, grew up with his eight siblings in Waterloo, Sydney, after the family left the failed family farm in Coonamble, New South Wales. Hallstrom left school at 13 and was apprenticed to a cabinet-maker. The archetypal self-made man, he was an ardent autodidact and entrepreneurial innovator throughout his life. By the early 1920s, he had started his first business, married and begun a family. In their backyard at Dee Why, Hallstrom designed a new kerosene-powered refrigerator, the ‘Icy Ball’, which he began selling to outback homesteads in 1928. Developing the product range, Hallstrom moved production to a Willoughby factory site, which by the mid-1940s had a workforce of over 750, making 1 200 ‘Silent Knight’ refrigerators per week for domestic sale and export as well as manufacturing for the war effort. The now-wealthy Hallstrom had a passion for animals and delighted in diverse philanthropic giving. He supported medical research and the building of hospital clinics for cancer and cardiac care in Sydney. In Papua and New Guinea, he founded a Bird of Paradise Sanctuary and established an experimental sheep-breeding station. Beginning with funds for the purchase of two rhinoceroses in 1937, Hallstrom devoted much of his personal fortune to Taronga Zoological Park Trust. In 1947 alone he donated 1 649 birds and animals, including elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, leopards and zebras. Hallstrom imported Taronga zoo’s first gorilla, King Kong, in 1959, financing its ‘Gorilla Villa’. He was the zoo’s greatest benefactor and served for 26 years as its most influential trustee until, in the last decade of his life, the professionalisation of zoological science began to sideline his considerable amateur expertise. He was knighted in 1952, recognised by zoological societies throughout the world. A genus of petrels was named Hallstroma in his honour.

Gift of Danina Dupain Anderson 2017. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Max Dupain/Copyright Agency, 2022

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.

Donated by

Danina Dupain Anderson (33 portraits)

© National Portrait Gallery 2022
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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