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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.

Peter Thomson, 1970

Ern McQuillan

gelatin silver photograph on paper (image/sheet: 40.5 cm x 30.3 cm)

Peter Thomson AO CBE (1929-2018), golf champion, began to play the game at the age of 12. Winning Melbourne’s Royal Park Club Championship at 15, at 20 he turned professional and at 24 won the British Open using a set of borrowed clubs. Dubbed ‘Placid Pete’ for his unemotional play, he relied on accuracy rather than power to win the British Open five times (1954-56, 1958, 1965), the Australian Open 3 times and the New Zealand Open 9 times. He won the Canadian World Cup with fellow Australian Kel Nagle in 1954 and 1959, and in a professional career spanning nearly 40 years he won open championships in many countries; in the Senior PGA tour of 1985 he won a record 9 tournaments. He is a foundation member of Sport Australia’s Hall of Fame and the US Golf Association Hall of Fame and was ABC Australian Sportsman of the Year in 1957. His career outside golf encompassed journalism, television commentary and golf course design. In 1999 he was awarded runner-up in the Golf Course Designers of the Year award for his work on the Golden Pebble Golf Club in China. The National Sports Museum at the MCG mounted Blazing a trail: Peter Thomson at the British Open in 2014.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2004
© Estate of Ern McQuillan

Accession number: 2004.37

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Ern McQuillan (age 44 in 1970)

Peter Thomson AO MBE CBE (age 41 in 1970)

Subject professions

Sports and recreation

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.

Betty Cuthbert, 1955 (printed 2003) Ern McQuillan
Betty Cuthbert, 1955 (printed 2003) Ern McQuillan
Betty Cuthbert, 1955 (printed 2003) Ern McQuillan
Betty Cuthbert, 1955 (printed 2003) Ern McQuillan

Hop, skip, shoot

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2004

Former NPG Deputy Director, Simon Elliott talks with Ern McQuillan about his life and career as a sports photographer.

Elizabeth, 2019 Anthea da Silva
Elizabeth, 2019 Anthea da Silva
Elizabeth, 2019 Anthea da Silva
Elizabeth, 2019 Anthea da Silva

Darling Portrait Prize

Current exhibition

from Friday 6 March

The Darling Prize is a new annual prize for Australian portrait painters, painting Australian sitters. The winner receives a cash prize of $75,000.

Andy Thomas, 2002 Montalbetti+Campbell
Andy Thomas, 2002 Montalbetti+Campbell
Andy Thomas, 2002 Montalbetti+Campbell
Andy Thomas, 2002 Montalbetti+Campbell

Uncommon Australians

The vision of Gordon and Marilyn Darling

Previous exhibition, 2015

This exhibition showcases portraits acquired through the generosity of the National Portrait Gallery’s Founding Patrons, L Gordon Darling AC CMG and Marilyn Darling AC.

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
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Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia


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Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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.