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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.

Don Watson

2002
Anna Sande

oil on canvas board (frame: 52.7 cm x 41.2 cm, support: 45.7 cm x 35.6 cm)

Don Watson (b. 1949), writer, is an authority on aspects of Australian history, culture, politics and language. Educated at La Trobe and Monash universities, he was an academic historian until 1983, publishing Brian Fitzpatrick: A Radical Life in 1979 and both The Story of Australia and Caledonia Australis in 1984. Throughout the 1980s he wrote political satire, particularly for the actor Max Gillies, and speeches for the Victorian premier, John Cain. Since then his serious and satirical writing has appeared in most of Australia's major journals and newspapers and on television, radio, stage and screen. He joined Paul Keating as speechwriter in January 1992 and stayed until his fall in 1996, gaining a reputation as a speechwriter without peer through efforts such as the 'Redfern Speech' of 1992. His biography of Keating, Recollections of a Bleeding Heart (2002) won the National Biography Award, the Courier-Mail Book of the Year Award and the Age Book of the Year Award. He has since published Death Sentence: The Decay of Public Language (2003) an attack on the progressive obfuscation of language by politicians and the media, and Weasel Words: Contemporary Clichés, Cant and Management Jargon (2004).

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2004
© Anna Sande

Artist and subject

Anna Sande

Don Watson (age 53 in 2002)

Donated by

Anna Sande (1 portrait)

Related information

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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.

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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