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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.

Harry Williams

2005
Sahlan Hayes

gelatin silver photograph on resin-coated paper (85.0 cm x 100.0 cm)

Harry Williams (b. 1951) is a Wiradjuri man and the first Indigenous footballer to represent Australia at international level. After playing at club level for Sydney's St George, he was recruited for the national team at nineteen. Williams played just six senior games before he was selected for the Socceroos in 1970, when the side embarked on a gruelling international tour. Four years later he was a member of the Australian side that reached the 1974 World Cup Finals in West Germany – until late 2005, the 1974 team was the only Socceroos outfit ever to achieve Finals qualification. In all, Williams played 43 games for Australia, including 20 full 'A' internationals and a 1975 match against Manchester United in Sydney. Known for his blinding speed on the left flank, he was still playing professionally into the mid-1980s. Since his retirement Williams has given back to First Nations communities through the Harry Williams Cup, an Indigenous soccer tournament, managing the Indigenous Services and Cultural Diversity Unit for ACT Correctional Services and as an ambassador for the Charles Perkins Soccer Academy. In 1999 Williams became one of the first inductees into the Football Federation Australia Hall of Fame, and he was inducted into the NSW Hall of Champions in 2020.

Photographer Sahlan Hayes took this image of Williams as part of a series of First Nations sportspeople. 'I wanted to recognise and celebrate their significance in Australian history by depicting contemporary athletes but also revisiting some older sporting identities as a means to renew their place in history.'

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2006
© Sahlan Hayes

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

Sahlan Hayes (age 38 in 2005)

Harry Williams (age 54 in 2005)

Subject professions

Sports and recreation

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Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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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.

Shane Warne
Shane Warne
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Flash

Australian Athletes in Focus

Previous exhibition, 2006

Introduction The National Portrait Gallery’s photographic exhibition Flash: Australian Athletes in Focus explores various interpretations of Australian sporting men and women.

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The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
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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.

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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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