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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.

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 the first to be inducted into the Women’s International Squash Players Association Hall of Fame. Selected to play hockey for Australia as a Queanbeyan schoolgirl, she took up squash at 17 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 Championships and the Victorian Championships. From 1967 to 1971 she was also a member of the Australian Women’s Hockey Team. Beaten only twice at squash in her entire career, she won the British Open titles every year from 1962 to 1977. She turned professional in January 1976, winning the inaugural Women’s World Open Squash Championship in 1976 before moving to Toronto to coach. While this move barred her from defending her British Open Title, she managed to win the Women’s World Open Squash Championships and the US Amateur Women’s Racquetball titles in 1979. In 1980-81 and 1983-84 she was the USA Women’s Professional Racquetball Champion. On her return to Australia in 1985 she helped to create the Australian Institute of Sport squash unit. In 2001 she won the ITF World Veterans’ Championship in the 60-64 age group. McKay is a serious contender for the title of Australia’s greatest-ever sportswoman.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
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)

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
Betty Cuthbert
Betty Cuthbert
Betty Cuthbert

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.

Andy Thomas
Andy Thomas
Andy Thomas
Andy Thomas

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.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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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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