John Allan portrait

John Allan, premier 1924-27
Title Premier John Allan
Artist Aileen R. Dent
Date 1928
Medium Oil on canvas
1120 x 935 x 95 mm
Premier 18th November 1924 – 20th May 1927

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 and 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.

Artist 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.


© Aileen R. Dent