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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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Heather McKay

1980
Ern McQuillan OAM

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

Heather McKay AO MBE (b. 1941), squash champion, dominated the game worldwide for sixteen years and was beaten only twice in her entire career. Selected to play hockey for Australia while a Queanbeyan schoolgirl, she took up squash at seventeen to maintain her fitness. In 1960, the year after she first played squash, she won the first of her fourteen Australian Amateur Championships. From 1961 to 1973 she also won the NSW and Victorian Championships and, from 1962 to 1977, the British Open title. After moving to Canada, she won the Women's World Open Squash Championship in 1976 and 1979 and was the USA Women's Professional Racquetball Champion In 1980–1981 and 1983–1984. On return to Australia in 1985 she helped to create the Australian Institute of Sport squash unit. Tennis is also an important part of McKay's life and since 2000 she has won nine Australian seniors singles titles and four doubles titles. In 2001 she won the ITF World Veterans' Championship in the 60+ age group. Now 80, McKay still plays tennis to keep fit.

Ern McQuillan was a renowned sports photographer who captured iconic sporting moments as well as revealing the personality of his sitters. He photographed McKay during a trip back to Australia in 1980 just before she retired from professional squash.

Purchased with funds provided by L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2004
© Michael McQuillan's Classic Photographs

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

Ern McQuillan OAM (age 54 in 1980)

Heather McKay AO MBE (age 39 in 1980)

Subject professions

Sports and recreation

Supported by

L Gordon Darling AC CMG (38 portraits supported)

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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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency