Portrait Of Victoria Premier John Allan

Portrait Of Victoria Premier John Allan

Parliament Of Victoria

John Allan Portrait

Victor P Taffa

Born in Chintin, near Lancefield on the 27th March 1866, John Allan was a wheat and dairy farmer involved in local politics before co-founding the Victorian Farmers Union (VFU) and being elected as their candidate for the Legislative Assembly seat of Rodney in 1917.

Leader of the factious VFU, Allan became Deputy Premier in September 1923 in a coalition government with Harry Lawson’s National Party.

Although this alliance would last less than a year, the VFU continued to hold the balance of power during the three subsequent short governments of

  • Lawson March 1924 – April 1924,
  • Alexander Peacock April 1924-July 1924,
  • George Prendergast July 1924 – November 1924.

In November 1924 Allan negotiated an alliance with Peacock’s National Party and formed a government.

Allan’s alliance with the Nationalists enabled him to become the first country party premier of Victoria; however the union increased tension between conservative and radical factions of the VFU.

In March 1926 the party radicals, led by future Premier Albert Dunstan, split from the VFU forming the Country Progressive Party (CPP). Allan remained Premier until the 1927 election when Labor under the leadership of Edmond Hogan was elected with CPP support.

A notable achievement of Allan-Peacock government was the creation of compulsory voting for the Legislative Assembly introduced in November 1926.

Allan remained in Parliament, serving in as a minister in Stanley Argyle’s United Australia Party – United Country Party 1932 coalition government, and later as a back bencher until his death on the 22 February 1936.


History Of The Premiers Portraits

The Hon. Frederick Grimwade, President of the Legislative Council 1979-1985, initiated the idea of a portrait gallery for former Premiers of Victoria. He arranged for paintings to be commissioned from photographs of former non-living Premiers and life studies of living former Premiers.

Every Premier since 1933 (with the exception of Ian MacFarlan, who was Premier for 51 days) is represented in the portrait collection. Prior to this date there are portraits of only 4 former Premiers.

The portraits were originally displayed in the corridor leading to the Members Dining Room, appropriately named the ‘Premiers’ Corridor’.

Grimwade’s initiative was a success and eventually the collection of portraits grew so large that another space in the building had to be considered for their display.

In 2001, the year of the Centenary of Federation and Sesquicentenary of the Legislative Council, the portraits were moved to Queen’s Hall. In the Roman Revival style architecture of the lofty Hall, the group of portraits are positioned around a centrally placed marble statue of Queen Victoria.

There are currently 18 Premiers portraits in this collection. The 17 most recent are on display in Queen’s Hall, while the 1893 portrait of Premier James Paterson, the largest in the collection, hangs in Premiers’ Corridor.


Title                Premier John Allan

Artist              Aileen R. Dent

Date                1928

Medium          Oil on canvas

Dimensions     1120 x 935 x 95 mm

Description     Premier 18th November 1924 – 20th May 1927


Aileen Dent (b.1890 d.1979) studied at the National Gallery School in Melbourne from 1909-1916. Well known for her portraiture, Dent exhibited regularly at the Athenaeum Gallery, Melbourne and was included in the exhibition Australian Women Artists, One Hundred Years 1840-1940, Melbourne University.