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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.

Cathy Freeman, 1995

Montalbetti+Campbell

direct positive colour photograph (frame: 153.3 cm x 113.2 cm, sheet: 121.0 cm x 90.0 cm)

Cathy Freeman OAM (b. 1973) was eight years old when she won her first race at a school athletics carnival in north Queensland. Coached initially by her stepfather, she had won a number of titles before earning scholarships to boarding schools in Toowoomba and Kooralbyn, where she trained with professional coaches. Aged sixteen, she was selected for the Australian women’s 4 x 100m relay team that took out the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Auckland, making her the first Aboriginal athlete to win a Commonwealth gold medal. She won two more gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Canada in 1994 with victories in the 200m and 400m. The first Aboriginal track and field athlete to represent Australia at the Olympic Games, she won a silver medal in the 400m in Atlanta in 1996. She was ranked first in the world in her signature event, the 400m, in which she won back-to-back World Championships in 1997 and 1999, and, memorably, the Olympic gold medal in front of her home crowd in Sydney in 2000. She was the first person to be named both Young Australian of the Year (in 1990) and Australian of the Year (in 1998). Freeman retired from running in July 2003, still enjoying the immense popularity she earned during her exceptional career. The Catherine (now Cathy) Freeman Foundation was established in 2007 with the aim of enhancing educational opportunities for Aboriginal children.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artists 2003

Accession number: 2003.142

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Montalbetti+Campbell

Cathy Freeman OAM (age 22 in 1995)

Donated by

Montalbetti+Campbell (8 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.

Andy Thomas, 2002 Montalbetti+Campbell
Andy Thomas, 2002 Montalbetti+Campbell
Andy Thomas, 2002 Montalbetti+Campbell
Andy Thomas, 2002 Montalbetti+Campbell

The Final Frontier

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2002

Magda Keaney talks with Montalbetti+Campbell about their photographic portrait of Australian astronaut Andy Thomas.

Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell

Eye to eye

Previous exhibition, 2019

Eye to Eye is a summer Portrait Gallery Collection remix arranged by degree of eye contact – from turned away with eyes closed all the way through to right-back-at-you – as we explore artists’ and subjects’ choices around the direction of the gaze.

Layne Beachley, 2008 Petrina Hicks
Layne Beachley, 2008 Petrina Hicks
Layne Beachley, 2008 Petrina Hicks
Layne Beachley, 2008 Petrina Hicks

Collection: Icons

Volume One

Previous exhibition, 2018

When a portrait communicates determination and individuality as boldly as these do, it has the potential to become an iconic image. For the Gallery’s 20th birthday this display brings together a group contemporary photographic portraits of inspiring women and men.

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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.