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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 James McNeill, 1980

William Dargie

oil on canvas (frame: 120.0 cm x 95.0 cm)

Sir James McNeill CBE (1916-1987) was chairman of BHP from 1977 to 1984. Educated at Newcastle High School, he joined the company in at the age of 16 as assistant to the secretary of the general manager, holding this position for eleven years before becoming the chief clerk in the Newcastle operation. After gaining accounting qualifications, he moved to the accounts division in Melbourne in 1946, threading his way through the ranks of the financial divisions of the companies before becoming Executive General Manager, Finance, in 1967. He became a managing director in 1971. Amongst his many directorships and consultative positions, McNeill was a president of the Australian Mining Industry Council, a director of ANZ, a member of the council of and chairman of the finance committee of Monash University, and a member of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute financial advisory committee. He was named the first Honorary Citizen of Queensland in 1980, and gained an honorary doctorate from the University of Newcastle in 1981. On his retirement, Sir James observed that he was pleased to have started at the bottom. 'The view from there may be limited,' he said, 'but it is in the right direction.'

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of BHP Billiton 2003
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Roger Dargie

Accession number: 2003.99

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

William Dargie (age 68 in 1980)

Sir James McNeill CBE (age 64 in 1980)

Subject professions

Business, trades and industry

Donated by

BHP Billiton (11 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.

Professor Peter Doherty, 2001 Rick Amor
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Self portrait, late 1930s William Dargie
Self portrait, late 1930s William Dargie
Self portrait, late 1930s William Dargie
Self portrait, late 1930s William Dargie

Sir William Dargie CBE

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2003

Sir William Dargie, painter and eight times winner of the Archibald Prize for portraiture, died in Melbourne on July 26, 2003, aged 91.

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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.