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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.

Peter Allen

1980
William Yang

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 50.9 cm x 60.7 cm, image: 27.5 cm x 40.4 cm)

Peter Allen (1944–1992) was born Peter Allen Woolnough in Tenterfield, NSW. At age 15 he joined with singer Chris Bell to form the Allen Brothers, and by 1964 was part of a successful singing trio chosen to support Judy Garland on her world tour. He married Garland’s daughter Liza Minnelli in 1967; they separated two years later. In the 1970s he became a successful cabaret performer and recording artist. Among his more enduring songs are 'I Go to Rio' and 'I Still Call Australia Home'. He also achieved success composing for other performers, co-writing such hits as Olivia Newton-John's Grammy-winning 'I Honestly Love You' and Christopher Cross' 'Arthur's Theme (Best That you Can Do)', which won best song at the 1981 Academy Awards. Allen played his final concerts to packed houses in Sydney in January 1992, just five months before his death.

In 1980 Allen had returned to Australia from New York (via Los Angeles) with his one-man extravaganza for the stage, 'Up in One: More than a Concert', and ultimately performed for the Queen and Prince Philip in the Royal Charity Concert at the Sydney Opera House on 27 May. William Yang photographed Allen lounging on a chaise at 'Wirian', pop artist Martin Sharp's Bellevue Hill home – a hub for creatives in Sydney, including Yang, from the late 1970s until Sharp's death in 2013.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2003
© William Yang

Artist and subject

William Yang (age 37 in 1980)

Peter Allen (age 36 in 1980)

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.

Patrick White by William Yang

Portrait story

An interview with photographer William Yang who recalls his encounters with the author Patrick White.

Face the Music

Previous exhibition, 2005

Australia has become recognised for the range and talent of its musicians, composers, conductors and celebrities in general associated with the music industry

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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 National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency