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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.

Kay Cottee, 1993

Pamela Thalben-Ball

oil on canvas (frame: 126.0 cm x 141.0 cm, support: 107.0 cm x 122.5 cm)

Kay Cottee AO (b. 1954) became the first woman in history to complete a solo, non–stop and unassisted voyage around the world in her boat Blackmores’ First Lady in 1988. During the 189 days of the 23 000 nautical mile voyage, she faced icebergs, gale force winds and whales as well as homesickness and loneliness. Her only contact with the outside world was by radio, and while the demands of the journey often left her with little time to sleep, she staved off boredom by knitting and writing poetry. In the course of the voyage she broke seven records including the longest time spent alone by a woman at sea, the greatest non–stop distance travelled at sea by a lone woman, and the fastest time and speed for a solo circumnavigation by a woman. The voyage raised $600 000 for Ted Noffs’s Life Education Centres. Cottee was named Australian of the Year for 1988.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 1999

Accession number: 1999.59

Currently on display: Gallery Four (Liangis Gallery)

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Artist and subject

Pamela Thalben-Ball (age 66 in 1993)

Kay Cottee AO (age 39 in 1993)

Subject professions

Sports and recreation

Donated by

Pamela Thalben-Ball (2 portraits)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Elle Macpherson, 2000 Polly Borland
Elle Macpherson, 2000 Polly Borland
Elle Macpherson, 2000 Polly Borland
Elle Macpherson, 2000 Polly Borland

Australian Visit

Previous exhibition, 2006

The exhibition will include works of art from the NPG Canberra's permanent collection with some inward loans and aims to highlight the achievements of notable Australians.

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

The Gallery

Explore portraiture and come face to face with Australian identity, history, culture, creativity and diversity.

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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.