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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.

Margaret Anderson, 1942

Napier Waller

pastel on paper

Margaret Anderson GM (1915-1995) served with the Australian Army Nursing Service during World War II. On the way from Singapore to Australia her ship, 'The Empire Star', which carried 2,500 Australians, was targeted by a Japanese air raid. Leaving the safety of the hold and under heavy fire, she sheltered soldiers with her own body and attended to the wounded. She was awarded the George Medal for Bravery for her actions.

Napier Waller, best known as the artist who designed the mosaics for the Australian War Memorial's Hall of Memory, made this pastel as one of a series. It was used in a patriotic publication, which noted that Anderson 'symbolises the steadfast, efficient spirit of a glorious branch of the services.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 1999
© Estate of Napier Waller

Accession number: 1999.73

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Napier Waller (age 49 in 1942)

Margaret Anderson (age 27 in 1942)

Subject professions

Health and medicine

Military

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.

Margaret Anderson, 1942 Napier Waller
Margaret Anderson, 1942 Napier Waller
Margaret Anderson, 1942 Napier Waller
Margaret Anderson, 1942 Napier Waller

The line of fire

Magazine article by Michelle Fracaro, 2005

Michelle Fracaro examines the life of World War II nurse Margaret Anderson, whose portrait by Napier Waller is in the NPG collection.

Jessie Street, 1929 Jerrold Nathan
Jessie Street, 1929 Jerrold Nathan
Jessie Street, 1929 Jerrold Nathan
Jessie Street, 1929 Jerrold Nathan

First Ladies

Significant Australian Women 1913–2013

Previous exhibition, 2013

First Ladies profiles women who have achieved noteworthy firsts over the past 100 years.

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.