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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.

George Moore, 1957

Ern McQuillan

gelatin silver photograph on paper (image/sheet: 40.5 cm x 30.5 cm)

George Moore OBE (1923–2008), champion jockey, was born in Mackay, Queensland and was apprenticed in Brisbane in 1938. Moving to Sydney, he began his long association with trainer Tommy Smith. Nicknamed ‘Cotton Fingers’ he won a record ten Sydney Premierships in his career of 2278 wins in Australia and overseas – although he never won the Melbourne Cup. In England, he won the English Derby, King George and Queen Elizabeth stakes, the 2,000 Guineas twice, the 1,000 Guineas, the Coronation and Ascot Gold Cups and the Gimcrack and Champagne stakes. He won the Arc De Triomphe and the Derby in France, and the San Diego Stakes in the US. Widely regarded as Australia’s greatest jockey, he retired from racing in 1971, when he won his final race on Classic Mission in the Victoria Derby. Moore became Hong Kong’s leading trainer before moving to the Gold Coast. The George Moore Medal is awarded annually to Sydney’s outstanding jockey.

Ern McQuillan (b. 1926) completed a photography cadetship at the Daily Mirror in the 1940s and after World War II worked for newspapers and magazines such as the 'Women’s Weekly like a version', the Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Telegraph and the Bulletin. The National Portrait Gallery holds twenty of McQuillan’s photographs, including portraits of Australian athletics, cricket and tennis champions from the 1950s and 1960s. Moore had been playing tennis before McQuillan arrived at his house in Vaucluse, Sydney. He donned his jockey’s silk and cradled his riding paraphernalia for the shot – but kept his tennis shorts on.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2003
© Estate of Ern McQuillan

Accession number: 2003.114

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Ern McQuillan (age 31 in 1957)

George Moore (age 34 in 1957)

Subject professions

Sports and recreation

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.

Betty Cuthbert, 1955 (printed 2003) Ern McQuillan
Betty Cuthbert, 1955 (printed 2003) Ern McQuillan
Betty Cuthbert, 1955 (printed 2003) Ern McQuillan
Betty Cuthbert, 1955 (printed 2003) Ern McQuillan

Hop, skip, shoot

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2004

Former NPG Deputy Director, Simon Elliott talks with Ern McQuillan about his life and career as a sports photographer.

In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester, 1939 Albert Tucker
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester, 1939 Albert Tucker
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester, 1939 Albert Tucker
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester, 1939 Albert Tucker

Depth of Field

Portrait Photography from the Collection

Previous exhibition, 2004

Over the last five years the National Portrait Gallery has developed a collection of portrait photographs that reflects both the strength and diversity of Australian achievement as well as the talents of our photographers.

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The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

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Explore portraiture and come face to face with Australian identity, history, culture, creativity and diversity.

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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.