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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.

David Williamson

1974 (printed 2001)
Gordon Glenn

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 50.5 cm x 60.7 cm, image: 40.0 cm x 50.5 cm)

David Williamson AO (b. 1942), playwright, studied and lectured in mechanical engineering and psychology before achieving success with his works for the stage. His early plays premiered at alternative theatres in Melbourne – The Coming of Stork (1970) and The Removalists (1971) at Betty Burstall’s La Mama, and Don’s Party (1971) at the Pram Factory in Carlton, home to the Australian Performing Group. Later, Williamson based himself in Sydney, recalling his Melbourne experiences as unhappy. From the outset, Williamson aimed to ‘get our own stories on stage, spoken in our own accents, reflecting our own life’. His plays, many of which he has scripted for films, include The Department, The Club, Travelling North, The Perfectionist, Emerald City, Brilliant Lies, Dead White Males, Heretic and Up for Grabs. His film credits include Stork (1971), Petersen (1974), Gallipoli (1980), The Year of Living Dangerously (1981) (the latter two collaborations with Peter Weir), Phar Lap (1982) and On the Beach (2000). Critics have carped about his works as they have accreted, but for decades he has been Australia’s best-known and most prolific playwright and he is unlikely to be eclipsed as the writer of many of the top box-office performers in Australian theatre history.

Gordon Glenn (b. 1948) worked as an assistant cameraman on the television show Homicide before becoming the stills photographer for the pioneering Australian journal Cinema Papers. He worked for the magazine from 1968 to the mid-70s, documenting production on the sets of films such as The Cars that Ate Paris, Between Wars, The True Story of Eskimo Nell, Caddie, Mad Dog Morgan, Don’s Party, and The Picture Show Man. He worked as a cinematographer on a number of independent films before moving to directing and producing feature films and television specials. In 2001 he produced the highly-acclaimed feature film Yolngu Boy (2001). This photograph accompanied an interview with Williamson in Cinema Papers of January 1974.

Purchased 2001
© Gordon Glenn

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

Gordon Glenn (age 26 in 1974)

David Williamson AO (age 32 in 1974)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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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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The Story So Far...

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2002

A reflection on the National Portrait Gallery's first four years.

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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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