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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.

Jimmy Little, Sydney

2004
John Elliott

type C photograph on paper (sheet: 60.7 cm x 50.6 cm, image: 50.0 cm x 33.0 cm)

Jimmy Little AO (1937–2012), singer, made his recording debut in 1956. Australia’s first indigenous pop star, Little was one of a handful of well-known Aboriginal people by the late 1950s. After a national number one hit, Royal Telephone, he was named Pop Star of the Year in 1964. Over the 1970s, by which time he had gained the nickname ‘Gentleman Jim’, Little’s popularity lapsed, and he went on the club circuit. In a characteristically low-key resurgence, he won the Mo award in 1997 and in 1999 his album Messenger – featuring covers of songs by The Cruel Sea, Nick Cave, Paul Kelly and The Church – won an ARIA Award for Best Adult Contemporary Album. He was named Best Male Artist at the Deadly Awards the same year. At 64 he released his 29th album, Resonate (2001),which featured songs by artists such as Kelly, Bernard Fanning and Dave Graney. Named a Living National Treasure, Little received two honorary doctorates and won the Classic Rock Performer Mo Award following the release of his 34th album, Life’s what you make it, in 2004.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2005
© John Elliott

Artist and subject

John Elliott (age 53 in 2004)

Jimmy Little AO (age 67 in 2004)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Donated by

John Elliott (19 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.

Thousand mile stare

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2004

John Elliott talks about his photographic portrait practice, including his iconic image of Slim Dusty arm-in-arm with Dame Edna Everage.

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 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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency