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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.

Slim Dusty at Carlton Hill Station, WA, 1993

John Elliott

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 50.5 cm x 40.5 cm, image: 46.5 cm x 32.0 cm)

Slim Dusty AO MBE (1927-2003), born David Gordon Kirkpatrick, was Australia's most prolific recording artist. He wrote his first song, 'The Way the Cowboy Dies', when he was ten years old, and styled himself Slim Dusty at eleven. He launched his travelling show in 1954; a decade later he made the first of his many round-Australia tours. His song 'The Pub With No Beer' (1957) was the first international hit by an Australian recording artist, and was awarded Australia's first gold record. It remains the only 78 rpm gold record in Australia. Dusty held more gold and platinum records than any other Australian artist, and won 32 Tamworth Country Music Festival Golden Guitars. Although he was never Australian of the Year, in 1999 he was named Father of the Year and inaugural Senior Australian of the Year. His hundredth album was released in July 2000, shortly before he reduced the nation to tears by singing 'Waltzing Matilda' at the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games. His first volume of autobiography, Walk a Country Mile, was published in 1979, and his second, Another Day, Another Town in 1997.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 1999

Accession number: 1999.9

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

John Elliott (age 42 in 1993)

Slim Dusty OBE (age 71 in 1993)

Subject professions

Performing arts

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.

Herb Wharton, Cunnamulla, Qld, 2004 John Elliott
Herb Wharton, Cunnamulla, Qld, 2004 John Elliott
Herb Wharton, Cunnamulla, Qld, 2004 John Elliott
Herb Wharton, Cunnamulla, Qld, 2004 John Elliott

Thousand mile stare

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2004

John Elliott talks about his photographic portrait practice, including his iconic image of Slim Dusty arm-in-arm with Dame Edna Everage.

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.

Paul Kelly, 2004 Jon Campbell
Paul Kelly, 2004 Jon Campbell
Paul Kelly, 2004 Jon Campbell
Paul Kelly, 2004 Jon Campbell

Face the Music

Previous exhibition, 2005

Australia has become recognised for the range and talent of its musicians, composers, conductors and celebrities in general associated with the music industry

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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.