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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.

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
© Polly Borland

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

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
Clive James
Clive James
Clive James

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.

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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