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Dr Phillip Law
, 1974

by Dallas Hawes

oil on canvas

Phillip Law AC CBE (1912-2010), scientist and Antarctic explorer, developed an interest in the frozen continent when he was a boy. He began work as a physics lecturer at the University of Melbourne in 1943, and made his first trip to the Antarctic, on the 1947-1948 Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition, as Senior Scientific Officer. He went on to participate in many exploratory voyages, and oversaw the establishment of Mawson, Casey and Davis stations. He was Director of the Antarctic Division of the Department of External Affairs from 1949 to 1966; during that period, he and his colleagues mapped more than 3 000 miles of coastline and some 800 000 square miles of territory. Law's wife, Nel, was the first Australian woman to visit Antarctica. Law was President of the Royal Society of Victoria from 1967 to 1969, and active for many years in tertiary education, marine science and public life. His honours include the Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society, the leading award in the field. He wrote several books about his Antarctic investigations and adventures and is the subject of two biographies.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of Dr Phillip Law 2000
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2000.22