Sir Thomas Bent was a politician and land speculator who was Member of the Legislative Assembly for Brighton for 32 years and a Councillor of both Brighton and Moorabbin for 45 years, becoming Mayor of Brighton on nine occasions. Never far from controversy, Bent was an avid land speculator during Melbourne’s boom years and was often accused of neatly overlapping his public role with private interests.
Ever wondered about the large and imposing portrait of Sir Thomas Bent which resides in the foyer of the Brighton Town Hall?
The portrait was presented to Bent by his Brighton constituents and supporters following his appointment as Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly in 1892.
Rumours survive that, given his reputation as being “Bent by name, bent by nature,” the painting was once popular target practice and had all manner of things hurled at it before it was removed for safe-keeping. In fact, when the painting was put into storage, a chicken bone was found behind the canvas!
Learn more about this colourful and controversial political character.
Interested in learning more about the Art and Heritage Collection?
Bayside City Council is the custodian of the Bayside Art and Heritage Collection, a collection of around 2,000 items that was principally formed when the former Sandringham and Brighton City Councils merged in 1994.