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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.

Eagle Ross (Ross Wilson), 2005

Tessa Jones

oil on canvas (support: 180.0 cm x 177.5 cm)

Ross Wilson (b. 1947), musician and producer, started playing in bands as a schoolboy, fronting the Pink Finks and the Party Machine in the late 1960s. In early 1970 he and Ross Hannaford formed Sons of the Vegetal Mother, which evolved into Daddy Cool. Daddy Cool played 1950s rock & roll songs with a 1970s attitude, and the mix electrified live audiences. 'Eagle Rock', released in June 1971, sat at number 1 for 11 weeks. Soon after, Daddy Who? Daddy Cool broke all previous sales records for an Australian album. Wilson split from the group in 1972 to form Mighty Kong; when they disbanded, he produced the first three albums for Skyhooks, while rejoining Daddy Cool in 1974-1975. Later, he produced albums for Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons, The Sports, The Dynamic Hepnotics and his own very successful band, Mondo Rock. As a musician, Wilson has toured almost incessantly from the 1970s to the present. In early 2001 'Eagle Rock' was voted the second-best Australian song ever (behind the Easybeats' 'Friday on My Mind'). Rock historian Ian McFarlane wrote that over his career of some four decades, Wilson 'has given more to the institution of Australian rock and pop than can ever possibly be repaid'.

Tessa Jones incorporated lyrics from 'Eagle Rock' and a more recent song of Wilson's, 'Xmas Card', in this work, leaving a space, she says, 'for songs yet to be created'.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2005
© Tessa Jones

Accession number: 2005.99

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Tessa Jones

Ross Wilson (age 58 in 2005)

Subject professions

Performing arts

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.

Lindy Lee, 2003 Greg Weight
Lindy Lee, 2003 Greg Weight
Lindy Lee, 2003 Greg Weight
Lindy Lee, 2003 Greg Weight

The long game

Magazine article by Penny Grist, 2020

Penelope Grist spends some quality time with the Portrait Gallery’s summer collection exhibition, Eye to Eye.

Daddy Cool, Melbourne, 1974 Rennie Ellis
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Daddy Cool, Melbourne, 1974 Rennie Ellis
Daddy Cool, Melbourne, 1974 Rennie Ellis

Now Listen...

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2005

Artist Tessa Jones recalls creating her portrait of Daddy Cool and Mondo Rock singer and music producer, Ross Wilson.

Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell

Eye to eye

Previous exhibition, 2019

Eye to Eye is a summer Portrait Gallery Collection remix arranged by degree of eye contact – from turned away with eyes closed all the way through to right-back-at-you – as we explore artists’ and subjects’ choices around the direction of the gaze.

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© National Portrait Gallery 2020
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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.