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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.

Dame Mary Gilmore, 1961

Max Dupain

gelatin silver photograph on paper (image: 45.8 cm x 39.5 cm)

Dame Mary Gilmore DBE (1865-1962) was a poet, journalist and social visionary who campaigned for social reform from a radical standpoint. She was the first female member of the Australian Workers' Union, and from 1908 to 1931 she championed the causes of the underprivileged as editor of the women's page of the Australian Worker. The wild swan, a book of verse excoriating the white settlers' ravaging of the land and destruction of Aboriginal culture, was published in 1930; Under the Wilgas (1932) and subsequent works expanded on this theme. Between 1891 and 1961 at least thirteen portraits were made of Gilmore by various artists, an indication of her importance as patriot, feminist, social crusader and folklorist. She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1937 in recognition of her contribution to Australian life and literature.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by Timothy Fairfax AC 2003

Accession number: 2003.23

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Max Dupain (age 50 in 1961)

Dame Mary Gilmore DBE (age 96 in 1961)

Subject professions

Media and communications

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.

Sydney Ure Smith, 1948 Max Dupain
Sydney Ure Smith, 1948 Max Dupain
Sydney Ure Smith, 1948 Max Dupain
Sydney Ure Smith, 1948 Max Dupain

Dupain detective

Magazine article by Johanna McMahon, 2019

Johanna McMahon revels in history and mystery in pursuit of a suite of unknown portrait subjects.

Dame Mary Gilmore, c. 1938 Lyall Trindall
Dame Mary Gilmore, c. 1938 Lyall Trindall
Dame Mary Gilmore, c. 1938 Lyall Trindall
Dame Mary Gilmore, c. 1938 Lyall Trindall

Painting writing

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2007

Dr Sarah Engledow explores the portraits of writers held in the National Portrait Gallery's collection.

Hélène Kirsova in Petrouchka, 1936-37 Max Dupain
Hélène Kirsova in Petrouchka, 1936-37 Max Dupain
Hélène Kirsova in Petrouchka, 1936-37 Max Dupain
Hélène Kirsova in Petrouchka, 1936-37 Max Dupain

Vintage Max

Magazine article by Gael Newton, 2003

Gael Newton delves into the life and art of renowned Australian photographer, Max Dupain.

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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.