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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.

Captain Ulm

1932
Enid Fleming

cast plaster, patinated (including base: 47.5 cm x 27.5 cm depth 27.5 cm)

Charles Ulm (1898-1934) began work as a clerk in a stockbroking office after he left school, but enlisted under a false identity in the 1st Battalion of the AIF just before his 16th birthday. He was amongst the first troops to land at Gallipoli, where he was wounded; in 1918, serving on the Western Front, he was wounded again. After the war he returned to Sydney to pursue his vision of establishing successful commercial airlines, and proved a capable and energetic administrator. When he co-piloted the Southern Cross from California to Brisbane, he had not yet obtained a pilot's licence. However, he went on to make several more record-breaking flights, both with Kingsford Smith in Southern Cross, and in command of his own aircraft, Faith in Australia. Ulm's Airspeed Envoy Stella Australis went down in the sea between California and Hawaii. His body was never found.

Enid Fleming was a pupil of the sculptor Rayner Hoff at the East Sydney Technical College, during the period in which Hoff and a group of mainly female students were working on Sydney's Anzac Memorial. Fleming was never a professional artist, but she was a close friend of Kingsford Smith's, and made several portraits of him, as well as a bas-relief of the Southern Cross. In 1932, when this bust was made, Kingsford Smith was knighted for services to aviation, but in business he was almost back to where he started, selling joyflights at ten shillings a trip and establishing an ill-fated flying school. Enid Fleming lived in Sydney all her life, and although she gave up sculpture, she continued to produce art in various mediums for her own pleasure.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the Sydney Airports Corporation 2001
© Estate of Enid Fleming

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

Enid Fleming (age 24 in 1932)

Charles Ulm (age 34 in 1932)

Subject professions

Business, trades and industry

Donated by

Sydney Airports Corporation (3 portraits)

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.

Portrait bust of Dr Christine Rivett
Portrait bust of Dr Christine Rivett
Portrait bust of Dr Christine Rivett
Portrait bust of Dr Christine Rivett

In the round

Magazine article by Andrew Sayers AM, 2009

Andrew Sayers outlines the highlights of the National Portrait Gallery's display of portrait sculpture.

Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and Captain Charles Ulm
Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and Captain Charles Ulm
Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and Captain Charles Ulm
Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and Captain Charles Ulm

The Wonder Years

Magazine article by Sarah Hill, 2001

Sarah Hill introduces the portrait busts of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and Captain Charles Ulm by Enid Fleming.

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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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