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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.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Professor John Mulvaney

1984
Janenne Eaton

oil on canvas (121.0 cm x 121.0 cm)

Emeritus Professor Derek John Mulvaney AO CMG (1925–2016), one of Australia’s foremost prehistorians, has often been described as the father of Australian archaeology. In the 1950s he began archaeological investigations into the history of the continent up to the time of white settlement. Successive research teams were able to re-establish the age of human presence in Australia: from 13 000 years in 1962, to 20 000 years by 1965, to 30 000 years by 1970 and a probable 40 000 years by 1980. These findings forced archaeologists and anthropologists around the world to change their thinking about how Homo sapiens came to settle the planet. From 1970 to 1985, Mulvaney held the first Chair in Prehistory at the Australian National University. He was a scintillating lecturer, and mentor to staff and students alike. Both on and off campus he promoted awareness of Australia’s archaeological heritage, campaigning for the World Heritage listing of Kakadu and powerfully opposing the damming of Tasmania’s Franklin River. After ‘retiring’ in 1985, Professor Mulvaney kept working; he was secretary of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and wrote and edited major books including the memoir Digging up a Past (2011).

Janenne Eaton painted this portrait for the collection of papers published to mark Professor Mulvaney's early retirement in 1985

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of John and Jean Mulvaney 2000
© Janenne Eaton

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Janenne Eaton (age 34 in 1984)

Professor John Mulvaney AO CMG (age 59 in 1984)

Subject professions

Education and research

Donated by

Professor John Mulvaney AO CMG (1 portrait)

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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 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