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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.

Dick Smith, Sydney, 2000 (printed 2004)

John Elliott

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

Dick Smith AO (b. 1944), businessman, aviator, film-maker and explorer, was born in Roseville, North Sydney, and grew up with two absorbing interests: radio and the bush. An avid Boy Scout, but an indifferent school student, he lasted through only one lecture at university before he began work in an electronics factory. In 1968 he established his own business in North Sydney; it would evolve into the giant Dick Smith Electronics chain. In 1983 he made the first solo helicopter flight around the world, landing on container ships at sea to refuel. In 1986 he launched the quarterly magazine Australian Geographic, and was named Australian of the Year. He made the first helicopter flight around the world via the poles in 1989, and the first non-stop balloon crossing of Australia in 1993; that year he founded Dick Smith Foods, a business dedicated to selling foods produced in Australia by Australian-owned companies. A keen bushwalker and a long-term proponent of reforms to Australia's aviation industry, he was named a Living National Treasure in 1997.

Australian of the Year 1986

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2005

Accession number: 2005.43

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

John Elliott (age 49 in 2000)

Dick Smith (age 56 in 2000)

Subject professions

Business, trades and industry

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.

Herb Wharton, Cunnamulla, Qld, 2004 John Elliott
Herb Wharton, Cunnamulla, Qld, 2004 John Elliott
Herb Wharton, Cunnamulla, Qld, 2004 John Elliott
Herb Wharton, Cunnamulla, Qld, 2004 John Elliott

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.

Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill, 2005 Ian Jennings
Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill, 2005 Ian Jennings
Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill, 2005 Ian Jennings
Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill, 2005 Ian Jennings

Australian of the Year

Inspiring a Nation

Previous exhibition, 2010

The Australian of the Year Awards have often provoked controversy about who is selected and whether their achievements are remarkable.

Stan Coster, Manilla, NSW, 1994 (printed 2004) John Elliott
Stan Coster, Manilla, NSW, 1994 (printed 2004) John Elliott
Stan Coster, Manilla, NSW, 1994 (printed 2004) John Elliott
Stan Coster, Manilla, NSW, 1994 (printed 2004) John Elliott

Thousand Mile Stare

Portrait photography by John Elliott

Previous exhibition, 2004

Thousand mile stare provides a unique portrait of people of rural Australia

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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.