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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.

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Pat Mackie

2004
Nancy Borlase AM

oil on canvas (frame: 104.7 cm x 78.7 cm)

Pat Mackie (1914–2009), union leader, led the Mount Isa strike of 1964–65 that polarised the town and almost bankrupted Mount Isa Mining. Mackie's life of activism began when as a young stowaway on a boat from New Zealand, he challenged the captain as to the lawfulness of his uncomfortable accommodation. Working in blue-collar jobs around the globe, he became a member of the Industrial Workers of the World and the United States Seafarers Unions before ending up central Queensland. The dispute of 1964–65, one of Australia's major rank-and-file uprisings, arose over management's failure to provide showers for miners. As it escalated, Queensland Premier Frank Nicklin described Mackie as a 'vicious gangster' and the strike as a 'communist strategy to retard and even prevent major developmental projects in this state'; the government vainly explored all possible avenues to have him deported. The strike and the rest of the unionist's tumultuous life are described in his books Mount Isa: The Story of a Dispute (1989) and Many Ships to Mount Isa (c. 2002).

Although she did not know Mackie well until he sat for her, Nancy Borlase's close personal connections within the trade union movement through her husband, union official Laurie Short, afford a further dimension of interest to this portrait, painted in her characteristically flat and graphic, almost cartoonish, style.

Purchased 2004
© Estate of Nancy Borlase

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Nancy Borlase AM (age 90 in 2004)

Pat Mackie (age 90 in 2004)

Subject professions

Activism

Government and leadership

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Pat Mackie
Pat Mackie
Pat Mackie
Pat Mackie

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Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

Dr Sarah Engledow delves into the life of union leader Pat Mackie who is depicted in a portrait by Nancy Borlase AM.

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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 past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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