Skip to main content

Robert Di Pierdomenico "Dipper"
, 1986

by Rennie Ellis

type C photograph (sheet: 62.0 cm x 47.0 cm, image: 29.3 cm x 43.9 cm)

Robert Di Pierdomenico (b. 1958), better known as Dipper, is an Australian Rules footballer who notched up 240 games for the Hawthorn Football Club during a sixteen-year career. Di Pierdomenico made his debut with the Hawks, aged seventeen, in 1975, but didn’t come to public attention until being judged best on ground in the team’s three goal win over North Melbourne in the 1978 grand final. A wingman known as much for his toughness as his handlebar moustache, Di Pierdomenico was a key ingredient of the Hawks’ remarkable domination of the competition during the 1980s. He was a member of the premiership- winning Hawthorn sides of 1983, 1986, 1988 and 1989 – playing for much of the 1989 grand final against Geelong with broken ribs and a punctured lung. The joint winner of the 1986 Brownlow Medal, Di Pierdomenico retired in 1991 having kicked 130 goals, played in 24 finals and been selected for the All Australian side three times. He was named in Hawthorn’s Team of the Century in 2001 and inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame in 2007.

Rennie Ellis (1940–2003) began taking photographs while travelling around the world in the 1960s. He completed studies in advertising in his native Melbourne in 1966 and worked in a number of ad agencies before deciding to become a freelance photographer, writer and filmmaker in 1969. In 1972, he founded Brummels Gallery of Photography, the first Australian gallery dedicated to photographs; and in 1975 established Rennie Ellis & Associates. Between this time and his death in 2003, Ellis’s work was acquired by public and private collections and exhibited widely in Australia and overseas. Following the 2006 exhibition Rennie Ellis: Aussies All, the National Portrait Gallery purchased thirteen of his photographs, including this work from his series documenting Australian Rules grand finals of the 1970s and 1980s.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2006
© Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive
Accession number: 2006.58