As Prime Minister of Australia Ben Chifley became the subject of many images - photos, portraits, sketches and cartoons - that were the prominent forms of 1940s' image-making. Creators of images endeavour to capture the physical features, personality and thoughts of their subject to present to their viewers, selecting in the process what to include and what to ignore.
View the following artworks. Although a diverse selection of images, each artist has selected a particular aspect of Ben Chifley to portray so that a study of the images provides some insights into the man who was acknowledged as Australia's most loved Prime Minister.

Ben ChifleyPortrait by Reg Campbell


Oil portrait by Bathurst artist Reg Campbell. Reg Campbell was a self-taught Bathurst artist, renowned for his realist works of landscapes and flowers and for his portraits of well-known personalities.

  • Pen and ink portrait of Ben at his desk
  • Pencil portrait
  • Over the back fence
  • Newspaper cartoon at the time of Ben Chifley's death

1. What does each image tell of the character of Ben Chifley?

2. How has the artist conveyed this through their use of colour, line, texture, tone and the medium used?

3. What objects and backgrounds have been used? Why do you think the artist has used these?

4. Each image was created at a different time. Arrange them in what you think would be the correct chronological order and tell a story about Ben Chifley as portrayed by your selected sequence.

5. Develop a list of words that reflect the character of Ben Chifley as portrayed in the images and then write a description. Revisit your description after visiting the Chifley Home and determine how accurately the images conveyed the character of Ben.

6. Choose one of the images and copy its outline using a grid. Develop your portrait using the medium and colours that you think best capture the character of Ben Chifley.

Pencil drawing of Ben Chifley Cartoon of Ben Chifley and Robert Menzies Portrait of Ben Chifley with artist Reg Campbell