Skip to main content
Menu

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 Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Portrait of Alec Campbell

2001-2004
Terry Eichler

oil on canvas (frame: 99.0 cm x 147.0 cm)

Alec Campbell (1899-2002) was Australia's last surviving Anzac, and possibly the last survivor of the entire Gallipoli campaign. Campbell signed up at the age of 16, claiming he was two years older, and landed on Gallipoli in November 1915. He was discharged from a field hospital the following month, having contracted influenza, and later suffered mumps. Shipped home as medically unfit following the evacuation, he returned to Australia, where he was to father nine children - the last born when he was 69. Working as a railway carriage builder from the mid-1920s until the beginning of World War 2, he was active in the Australian Railways Union. During this period, and later, he worked as a builder on Old Parliament House, other sites around Canberra and in Adelaide. Tasmanian-based for most of his life, he gained an economics degree at the age of 50, built boats and sailed in six Sydney to Hobart yacht races.

Alec Campbell never sentimentalised or exaggerated his short stint at Gallipoli, yet he was fated to become a powerful symbol of the famous campaign. When he died at the age of 103, honoured with a State funeral in Hobart, HM Queen Elizabeth II wrote that 'his death marks the passing of the generation which contributed so much to the character, identity and independent standing of the Australian nation.' Historian Michael McKernan, among many others, has explained his significance to the broader Australian community. 'While ever we had the opportunity of personal contact with a man of the decency and humanity and humility of an Alec Campbell, we had the opportunity of knowing what we needed to know in a personal sense about that campaign . . . It's a remarkable thing that a man like Alec Campbell lived as long as he did to keep that personal contact and message for all Australians. And, somehow or other, we've got to make sure that that's not lost.'

Terry Eichler is a Vietnam War veteran. Eichler hopes that his art will 'bear witness to the sickening reality (veterans) encountered in Vietnam' and encourage Australians 'never again as a nation [to] resort to war as a strategy of foreign policy.'

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2005
© Terry Eichler

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

Terry Eichler

Alec Campbell (age 102 in 2001)

Subject professions

Military

Donated by

Terry Eichler (1 portrait)

© National Portrait Gallery 2022
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency