Sunday, August 27, 2023


Australian Prime Ministers get hung in Parliament House, not litterally but their portraits do. Kevin Rudd left Parliament 10 years ago but returned recently to unveil his Prime Misterial portrait for the House gallery.

Becoming Oz’s 26th PM in 2007 under a campaign slogan “Kevin 07”, he ended up on the nose with public servants (who dubbed him “Kevin 24/7” for his lack of respect for working hours), the public and within his own party, resulting in his being rolled in favour ofJulia Gillard.

His removal from office began a sequence of four subsequent prime ministers who would all be removed by their own parties before completing their full first term.

At any rate, Rudd’s official portrait is now on the wall:

The official portrait of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, painted by Ralph Heimans.

Former PM Kevin Rudd and wife Therese Rein at the unveiling of his portrait at Parliament House.

By the way, Rudd is curerntly the Oz Ambassador to the US.


Some past official House PM portraits and comment, from the Parliament House website at:
After the end of each Australian Prime Ministers’ term in office, the Historic Memorials Collection (HMC) committee commissions prominent Australian artists to paint their portraits.

The portraits reflect how political leaders have chosen to be portrayed, and how they are viewed by the community. Early Prime Ministerial portraits tended to be intimidating, and larger than life. They often depict sitters in solemn poses, dressed in formal attire emerging from sombre surrounds. Over time, HMC artists have introduced a more personal dimension to the portraits, through the sitter’s pose, choice of backgrounds and inclusion of objects with personal associations.




Tony Abbott
Prime Minister, 18 September 2013 to 15 September 2015
Liberal Party of Australia

Julia Gillard
Prime Minister, 24 June 2010 to 27 June 2013
Australian Labor Party
(Julia Gillard that she wanted her portrait to be different, to reflect that she was first female PM)

John Howard
Prime Minister, 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007
Liberal Party of Australia

Paul Keating
Prime Minister, 20 December 1991 to 11 March 1996
Australian Labor Party

Bob Hawke
Prime Minister, 11 March 1983 to 20 December 1991
Australian Labor Party

Malcolm Fraser
Prime Minister, 11 November 1975 to 11 March 1983
Liberal Party of Australia

Gough Whitlam
Prime Minister, December 1972 to 11 November 1975
Australian Labor Party
The above paiting by Clifton Pugh was awarded the 1972 Archibald Prize. Pugh had won the same prize the year before for a portrait of Australia's 18th Prime Minister John McEwen. After Whitlam's dismissal from office by the Governor-General, Whitlam refused to sit for an official portrait to sit in Parliament House and requested that Pugh's portrait be hung instead. This offer was accepted and the portrait remains part of the Parliament House collection.

The head of the Smithsonian Institution ihas apologised for the dark history behind its collection of human remains.

In a recent Washington Post op-ed, Lonnie G Bunch III, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, addressed how the institution amassed a collection of tens of thousands of body parts during the first half of the 20th century — taken largely from Black and Indigenous people, as well as other people of colour, and mostly without their consent.

Bunch's apology on behalf of the institution comes after a Washington Post investigation last week revealed that the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History is currently in possession of at least 30,700 human body parts, including 255 brains, from people in countries such as the Philippines, Peru, Germany and the US.

Most of the remains, the Post found, were collected in the early 1900s under the direction of anthropologist Ales Hrdlicka, who sought to advance his now-debunked theories that white people were superior to people of colour.

"It was abhorrent and dehumanising work, and it was carried out under the Smithsonian's name," Bunch wrote in an op-ed published on August 20. "As secretary of the Smithsonian, I condemn these past actions and apologise for the pain caused by Hrdlicka and others at the institution who acted unethically in the name of science, regardless of the era in which their actions occurred."

He continued, "I recognise, too, that the Smithsonian is responsible both for the original work of Hrdlicka and others who subscribed to his beliefs, and for the failure to return the remains he collected to descendant communities in the decades since."

Lonnie Bunch 111

Ales Hrdlicka


A landmark statue commemorating Australian nurses who served in wartime has been unveiled in Canberra.

Nurses who died serving Australia, were the victims of wartime atrocities and made sacrifices for their country are now permanently commemorated after the first statue of a woman at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Lieutenant Colonel Vivian Bullwinkel, who was the sole survivor of an infamous World War II massacre, has become the first female to be memoralised in bronze at the memorial.

Bullwinkel, who died in 2000, was posted to Singapore as part of the Australian Army Nursing Service in 1941 as British-led forces attempted to repel an attack by the Japanese army.

After the fall of Singapore, 22 unarmed Australian nurses were brutally executed by Japanese soldiers at Bangka Island, east of Sumatra.

Bullwinkel was the only nurse to survive but was later captured and spent three-and-a-half years in a Japanese prison camp.

Following World War II, she left the army and became director of nursing at Melbourne's Fairfield Hospital. She devoted herself to nursing, honouring those killed on Banka Island and raising funds for a nurses' memorial.

The sculpture, created by Brisbane artist Charles Robb, includes 22 inlaid stainless steel discs commemorating the 22 women killed in the atrocity.

Lieutenant Colonel Vivian Bullwinkel, centre, devoted her life to nursing after surviving a World War II massacre.

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