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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.

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Her Excellency Marjorie Jackson-Nelson AC CVO MBE

2006
Avril Thomas

oil on canvas (frame: 195.5 cm x 149.0 cm, support: 183.0 cm x 137.0 cm)

Her Excellency Marjorie Jackson-Nelson AC CVO MBE (b. 1931), former sprinter, was Governor of South Australia from 2001 to 2007. The 'Lithgow Flash' won Olympic gold medals in the 100m and 200m at Helsinki in 1952, becoming the first Australian woman to win an Olympic gold medal for track and field and the first Australian to win an Olympic gold medal on the running track since 1896. Between 1950 and 1954 she won every state and Australian title for the 100 yards and 220 yards. She broke world sprint records ten times and garnered seven Commonwealth Games gold medals. Sportsman of the Year in 1952, in 1953 she was awarded an MBE for her services to athletics. Since the death from leukaemia in 1977 of her husband Peter Nelson, former Olympic cyclist, she has been dedicated to securing funds to sponsor research into the disease, raising over $7 million for facilities in Adelaide through the Peter Nelson Leukaemia Fellowship Research Fund.

Avril Thomas painted Jackson-Nelson in a number of sittings at Government House in Adelaide. The portrait incorporates objects referring to Jackson-Nelson's position as Governor and her Olympic career, such as her kangaroo-skin running spikes and a maquette of her life-sized statue in her home town of Lithgow.

Commissioned 2006
© Commonwealth of Australia

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.

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Her Excellency Marjorie Jackson-Nelson AC CVO MBE
Her Excellency Marjorie Jackson-Nelson AC CVO MBE
Her Excellency Marjorie Jackson-Nelson AC CVO MBE
Her Excellency Marjorie Jackson-Nelson AC CVO MBE

Spikes: then and now

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

As part of its ongoing program of commissions of portraits of prominent Australians, the National Portrait Gallery has unveiled a portrait of Her Excellency Marjorie Jackson-Nelson by South Australian artist Avril Thomas.

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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 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.

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