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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
© Jozef Vissel

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

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
Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark
Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark
Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark

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.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

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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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