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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.

Tania Verstak, 1962

Jozef Vissel

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 40.8 cm x 30.4 cm, image: 36.8 cm x 27.8 cm)
Tania Verstak

Tania Verstak (b. 1940) won the Miss Australia quest in 1961. Born in Shanghai of Russian refugee parents, she arrived in Australia with her family when she was 11. Spotted by a representative of the Spastic Centre while promoting olive oil at the Sydney Show, she won the Miss Northern Beaches and Miss New South Wales contests to progress to the Miss Australia pageant. When she won, Minister for Immigration Alexander R. Downer declared that 'the selection of Miss Verstak, a naturalised Australian, is the ultimate demonstration - if any demonstration were needed - of the way in which our new settlers have entered the hearts and lives of the Australian people'. As Miss Australia Verstak travelled to the USA, where she was crowned Miss International in 1962. After completing her reigns Verstak worked for a short time as a promotional representative for Qantas before raising a family. Her experiences continue to interest researchers into the history of immigration to Australia.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2005

Accession number: 2005.117

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Jozef Vissel (age 27 in 1962)

Tania Verstak (age 22 in 1962)

Subject professions

Media and communications

Donated by

Jozef Vissel (13 portraits)

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.

Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark, 2000 Peter Wegner
Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark, 2000 Peter Wegner
Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark, 2000 Peter Wegner
Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark, 2000 Peter Wegner

Portraits for Posterity

Previous exhibition, 2006

Drawn from some of the many donations made to the Gallery's collection, the exhibition Portraits for Posterity pays homage both to the remarkable (and varied) group of Australians who are portrayed in the portraits and the generosity of the many donors who have presented them to the Gallery.

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The National Portrait Gallery
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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.