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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.

Ruth Park

2000
Kilmeny Niland

oil on canvas (91.5 cm x 91.0 cm)

Ruth Park AM (1917-2010) was born in New Zealand and lived there until 1942. As a convent schoolgirl she was encouraged by her headmistress to become penpals with the Australian D'Arcy Niland, later the author of The Shiralee. Having corresponded with Niland for some time, she came to Australia to marry him and continue her career as a journalist. The couple travelled through outback Australia working in a variety of manual jobs which became material for a number of novels, but they eventually settled in the Sydney slum area of Surry Hills, described in Park's best-known works, The Harp in the South and Poor Man's Orange. She has written more than fifty books for adults and children, including the Muddle Headed Wombat series, and has won a number of important Australian literary awards.

This portrait of Ruth Park is by her daughter, Kilmeny Niland, an illustrator, writer and painter, who provided the drawings for a number of Park's books.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2000
© Estate of Kilmeny Niland

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

Kilmeny Niland (age 50 in 2000)

Ruth Park AM (age 83 in 2000)

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.

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Previous exhibition, 2019

Eye to Eye is a summer Portrait Gallery Collection remix arranged by degree of eye contact – from turned away with eyes closed all the way through to right-back-at-you – as we explore artists’ and subjects’ choices around the direction of the gaze.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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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.

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