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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.

John Farnham, 1996

Polly Borland

type C photograph on paper (image: 49.4 cm x 39.3 cm)

John Farnham AO (b. 1949), singer-songwriter, tasted his first success in 1968 with the throwaway single 'Sadie'. He was voted Australia's King of Pop five years in a row between 1969 and 1973, when he also appeared in a variety of stage shows and musicals. His career stalled for the second half of the 1970s. He formed a band and went back on the performance circuit from 1982, briefly as the lead singer of the Little River Band, before returning to the charts with a version of the Beatles' song 'Help' in the mid-eighties. The solo record he released in 1986, Whispering Jack, became Australia's first CD album and the nation's biggest-selling album to date, going platinum 17 times on the domestic market alone. He was Australian of the Year in 1987; his albums Age of Reason (1988) and Chain Reaction (1990) both debuted at number 1. The genial Farnham remains one of Australia's best-loved celebrities, finishing high on the list of the ABC'S My Favourite Australian poll in 2008.

Australian of the Year 1987

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2000

Accession number: 2000.7

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Polly Borland (age 37 in 1996)

John Farnham AO (age 47 in 1996)

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.

Clive James, 1999 Polly Borland
Clive James, 1999 Polly Borland
Clive James, 1999 Polly Borland
Clive James, 1999 Polly Borland

Golden Jubilee

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2002

Polly Borland's photograph of The Queen was commissioned by Buckingham Palace as part of a series of high profile celebrations to mark the Golden Jubilee.

Confide in Me

Magazine article by Sarah Hill, 2002

This article examines the photographic portraiture of Polly Borland.

Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill, 2005 Ian Jennings
Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill, 2005 Ian Jennings
Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill, 2005 Ian Jennings
Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill, 2005 Ian Jennings

Australian of the Year

Inspiring a Nation

Previous exhibition, 2010

The Australian of the Year Awards have often provoked controversy about who is selected and whether their achievements are remarkable.

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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.