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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 Hon Gough Whitlam, Ossie Cruse and Michael Anderson

1981 (printed 2003)
Juno Gemes

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 50.9 cm x 60.6 cm, image: 29.1 cm x 44.1 cm)

The Hon Edward Gough Whitlam AC QC (1916–2014) was prime minister of Australia from 1972 to 1975. As prime minister he famously returned traditional lands in the Northern Territory to the Gurindji people and his government drafted the first Commonwealth legislation to grant land rights to Aboriginal people. Ossie Cruse AM MBE (b. 1933), Aboriginal elder, pastor and former National Aboriginal Conference chairman, is a prominent campaigner for reconciliation and social justice for Australia’s indigenous peoples. Ghillar Michael Anderson was one of four Aboriginal activists who set up the original tent embassy opposite Old Parliament House on Australia Day 1972.

In 1981, Whitlam joined Cruse and Anderson on a tour of Africa, to advise Commonwealth Heads of Government of the discrimination against Aboriginal people in Australia. Juno Gemes, who has spent much of her career documenting the leading figures and moments in the struggle for Indigenous rights, photographed the three men at a press conference at Sydney Airport before their departure. Many of Gemes' portraits of Indigenous activists were exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in Proof: Portraits from the Movement 1978–2003.

Gift of the artist 2005. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Juno Gemes/Copyright Agency, 2021

Artist and subject

Juno Gemes (age 37 in 1981)

Hon. Gough Whitlam AC QC (age 65 in 1981)

Michael Anderson

Ossie Cruse AM MBE

Donated by

Juno Gemes (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.

A handful of sand

Magazine article by Ellen Kent, 2007

Ellen Kent examines the portrait of Vincent Lingiari and Prime Minister Gough Whitlam taken by photographer Mervyn Bishop.

Express Yourself

Previous exhibition, 2018

This exhibition celebrates Australians whose unique life experiences symbolise social and cultural forces. Uncompromising individuality defines them. The portraits are drawn from the National Portrait Gallery’s collection of contemporary photography and drawing.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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Canberra, ACT 2600, 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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency