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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.

Neil Murray, Bolac, VIC

2004
John Elliott

type C photograph on paper (sheet: 60.7 cm x 50.6 cm, image: 47.8 cm x 36.0 cm)

Singer-songwriter Neil Murray was born in Lake Bolac in western Victoria. As a young man he conceived a passionate interest in Australia's Aboriginal cultures. In the early 1980s he teamed with members of the Northern Territory's Papunya community to form the Warumpi Band. The group would record the first ever rock song in an Aboriginal language - 1983's "Jailanguru Pakarnu" - and would go on to tour with Midnight Oil. In 1989 Neil launched a solo career with the album Calm and Crystal Clear. Four further solo albums have followed, including the recent Going the Distance. In 1995 he received an APRA Song of the Year award for "My Island Home" - originally written for the Warumpi Band, the song had become a hit for Cristine Anu. In the same year a reformed Warumpi Band toured Europe and recorded the album Too Much Humbug. Neil Murray is also the author of a novel (Sing for Me Countryman) a play (King for This Place) and the book of poetry One Man Tribe (1999). An album of his Greatest Hits is due in 2005.

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

Artist and subject

John Elliott (age 53 in 2004)

Neil Murray (age 48 in 2004)

Subject professions

Activism

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.

True fella

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2011

Michael Desmond profiles the Australian songwriter and performer Neil Murray and his contribution to Australian music.

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.

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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