Skip to main content
Menu

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

An active and contemplative life

by Angus Trumble, 28 September 2017

Mark Loane
Mark Loane, 2016 Joachim Froese. © Joachim Froese

There is an unbroken line of thought in western civilisation extending all the way from Cicero through St. Augustine and Coluccio Salutati right up to the present day, in which we have regularly weighed the significance, respective merits and competing priorities of the “active” versus the “contemplative” life. Can they coexist? In many respects this fine new photographic portrait of Mark Loane by Joachim Froese (b. 1963), commissioned last year with funds made available by Patrick Corrigan AM, encapsulates that ancient paragone, and indeed powerfully suggests that the answer to that question is yes. But in a far more specific way, this portrait also makes the obvious connection between specialist surgery and élite sport here in contemporary Australia by positioning its distinguished subject in a spare, unadorned locker room in which the garments of daily life are exchanged for apparel suited to, indeed necessary for, the complex and challenging task at hand. The artist gently suggests that what was true of the subject in his eminent Rugby Union days is also true of him as an eye surgeon.

Mark Loane AM, MBBS [Qld], FRANZCO, FRACS (b. 1954) – former rugby international – made his debut for the Wallabies against the Kingdom of Tonga at the age of eighteen when he was a second year medical student at the University of Queensland. By the time Loane graduated four years later, he had become the captain of the Queensland state side at the age of twenty-one. He won Test caps against the All Blacks, England, Japan, Fiji and France and toured the British Isles and France. Appointed Wallabies captain in 1979 against the All Blacks he led the team to the first Bledisloe Cup victory in Australia in 45 years and captained the side to its first tour of Argentina in 1979. He captained six of the 28 Test matches he played. Considering himself more a doctor than a footballer, Loane retired in 1982 to pursue studies in ophthalmology where he received the Cedric Cohen Medal for the best pass in the eye surgery first part exam in 1984, then completing the second and final part exams in 1986. Further studies and fellowships followed at Flinders Medical Centre, South Australia and the University of California, San Diego. Returning to Queensland and to private practice, he set up the Cape York Eye Health Project in 1999 to provide eye health services to the remote Indigenous communities of Cape York, chairing the Indigenous and Remote Rural Eye Health Service for five years. Loane was named a Member of the Order of Australia in 2011, specifically for his work with the Indigenous communities of North Queensland. His sporting honours include the Australian Sports Medal and inductions into the Wallabies and Queensland Reds Halls of Fame.

Related people

Mark Loane

© National Portrait Gallery 2023
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency