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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.

Alan Bond

1985
Rennie Ellis

type C photograph on paper (sheet: 62.0 cm x 47.0 cm, image: 29.1 cm x 43.9 cm)

Alan Bond (1938-2015), entrepreneur, was born in London and came to Australia in 1950. After working as a signwriter and building his fortune in property development, he was named Australian of the Year in 1978, five years before he became a national hero by winning the 1983 America’s Cup for Australia. Two years later his Bond Corporation acquired the giant Castlemaine Tooheys beer empire, giving him control of more than 40% of Australia’s beer market. In 1987 he made international headlines by purchasing Van Gogh’s Irises for a world record $54 million; the same year, he bought Channel Nine from Kerry Packer for $1 billion, and built the striking Bond Center in Hong Kong. The university he funded, Bond University on the Gold Coast, Queensland, opened in 1989. Having become the most popular of the Australian magnates of the 1980s, Bond was declared bankrupt in 1992, and gaoled in 1997. His biographer Paul Barry wrote that ‘what he did in the 1980s and the 1990s was a disgrace to this country and brought us into disrepute throughout the world’. In 2008, eight years after his release and having developed overseas interests in oil and diamond mining, he bounded back into the list of the two hundred wealthiest people in Australia.

Rennie Ellis photographed Bond on the day of his daughter Susanne’s marriage to New York doctor Armand Leone, which was followed by a stupendously lavish reception at the Bonds’ clifftop home. Susanne’s dress was created by Bruce Oldfield, a favourite designer of Princess Diana’s. As Oldfield made his last refinements, Ellis went across the hall to Bond’s bedroom and photographed the tycoon as he sat on the bed watching a Tarzan movie on TV.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2006
© Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive
www.RennieEllis.com.au

Artist and subject

Rennie Ellis (age 45 in 1985)

Alan Bond (age 47 in 1985)

Subject professions

Business, trades and industry

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.

No shirt, no service

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Bon Scott and Angus Young photographed by Rennie Ellis are part of a display celebrating summer and images of the shirtless male.

Good, bad and the ugly

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2007

Michael Desmond explores what makes a portrait subject significant.

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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