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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.

Ian Kiernan

1996
Kate Gollings

gelatin silver photograph, selenium toned on paper (sheet: 60.5 cm x 50.3 cm, image: 47.9 cm x 47.8 cm)

Ian Kiernan AO (1940-2018) was Chairman of Clean Up Australia and Clean Up the World. He started work as a labourer and became a builder, in due course making a fortune in property investments. His business empire collapsed in 1974; divorce and years of legal battles ensued. In 1986-7 he participated in a nine-month yacht race, and was sickened by the amount of rubbish he saw drifting on the fabled Sargasso Sea. In 1989 Kiernan and his friend Kim McKay AO instigated the first clean-up event, around Sydney Harbour. In 1990 the idea was expanded across the country with the first Clean Up Australia Day, in which nearly 300 000 people participated; soon, there were clean-ups across the globe. In 1993 Kiernan won the United Nations Global 500 award for the environment; he was Australian of the Year in 1994; and in 1998 he won the UN Environment Program’s Sasakawa Environment Award. Kiernan defended the simplicity of his environmental activism, saying that it was better than sitting in a ‘dusty office in a tie-dyed t-shirt . . . thinking that the world is going to collapse tomorrow’. Over twenty-five years, the organisation estimates that Australians have collected more than 288 650 tonnes of rubbish on Clean Up days.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by Marilyn Darling AC 2001
© Estate of Kate Gollings

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

Kate Gollings (age 53 in 1996)

Ian Kiernan AO (age 56 in 1996)

Subject professions

Activism

Supported by

Marilyn Darling AC (30 portraits supported)

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.

Andy Thomas
Andy Thomas
Andy Thomas
Andy Thomas

Uncommon Australians

The vision of Gordon and Marilyn Darling

Previous exhibition, 2015

This exhibition showcases portraits acquired through the generosity of the National Portrait Gallery’s Founding Patrons, L Gordon Darling AC CMG and Marilyn Darling AC.

Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill
Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill
Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill
Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill

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 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