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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.

Sir Arvi Parbo

1993
William Dargie

oil on canvas (frame: 112.0 cm x 82.5 cm)

Sir Arvi Parbo AC (1926-2019) succeeded James Forrest as chairman of Alcoa of Australia in 1978. Parbo came to Australia from Estonia in 1949, having studied at Germany's Clausthal mining academy. He gained a first class honours degree in engineering in Adelaide, and began work as an underground surveyor and technical assistant in Bullfinch, WA. Almost immediately he began the remarkable career rise that culminated in his chairmanship of Western Mining Corporation from 1974 to 1999, Alcoa from 1978 to 1996, and BHP from 1989 to 1992. He also served as chairman of Munich Reinsurance Company and Zurich Australian Insurance Group, and a director of the Aluminium Company of America, Hoechst Australian Investments, Chase AMP Bank and Sara Lee Corporation. His colossal contribution to the nickel and aluminium industries brought him a great number of Australian and international awards and six honorary doctorates.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Alcoa World Alumina Australia 2005
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Roger Dargie and Faye Dargie

Artist and subject

William Dargie (age 81 in 1993)

Sir Arvi Parbo AC (age 67 in 1993)

Subject professions

Business, trades and industry

Donated by

Alcoa World Alumina Australia (3 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.

The Stories Beneath

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005
The Alcoa World Alumina Australia gift.

The Changing Face of the Scientist

Magazine article by Elizabeth Finlay, 2003

Scientists tend to conjure up images of men in white coats in labs but this is just one stereotype in an evolving history of how we have perceived scientists, and how their profession has been understood over the years.

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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