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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.

Walter Lindrum OBE, c. 1932

Will Longstaff

oil on canvas (frame: 140.5 cm x 115.5 cm, support: 127.5 cm x 102.0 cm)

Walter Lindrum OBE (1898–1960), billiard player, was born into family of billiard champions in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, where his father ran billiard rooms and a bookmaking business. In 1921 the family moved to Melbourne, where they were to operate the Lindrum billiard hall for decades. Walter and his brother were coached by their father, Frederick, who, according to Walter, was the best billiard player in the pre-World War 1 world. Walter’s brother Frederick, too, was brilliant at the game, but fate saw Walter emerge as the dominant player internationally. In 1929 he went to England, where he quickly established himself as the greatest the world had seen. He made his largest competitive break, of 4 137, in 1932. The 1930s were his peak years; he won the world billiards championship in 1933 and retained the title throughout the decade. In the 1940s, he abandoned competitive play. Apart from writing about billiards, in his later years he applied himself to raising funds for Melbourne charities. His much-visited grave in Melbourne General Cemetery is in the form of a billiards tabletop, complete with cue and balls.

Will Longstaff (1879–1953) grew up in Ballarat, where he studied art at the School of Mines before embarking for the Boer War. Proceeding to Europe, he attended art school in London. He joined the Australian Imperial Force in 1915, serving in Egypt before being invalided to England, where he was appointed a war artist and worked in camouflage and the Australian War Records Section. His best-known painting, Menin Gate at Midnight (1927) hangs in a curtained shrine-like space in the Australian War Memorial. A resident of England for the rest of his life, Longstaff undertook many portrait commissions. He is thought to have painted Lindrum in London in 1932, the year Lindrum made his record break.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2006

Accession number: 2006.90

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Will Longstaff (age 53 in 1932)

Walter Lindrum OBE (age 34 in 1932)

Subject professions

Sports and recreation

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.

Walter Lindrum portrait story video: 2 minutes
Walter Lindrum portrait story video: 2 minutes
Walter Lindrum portrait story video: 2 minutes
Walter Lindrum portrait story video: 2 minutes

Walter Lindrum

'Wally and the game of billiards'

Portrait story

A portrait story exploring the life of Walter Lindrum, one of the greatest billiard players of all time.

Walter Lindrum OBE, c. 1932 Will Longstaff
Walter Lindrum OBE, c. 1932 Will Longstaff
Walter Lindrum OBE, c. 1932 Will Longstaff
Walter Lindrum OBE, c. 1932 Will Longstaff

Cannonical

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2007

Walter Lindrum, world-famous billiards player, was one of Australia's greatest sporting champions.

Andy Thomas, 2002 Montalbetti+Campbell
Andy Thomas, 2002 Montalbetti+Campbell
Andy Thomas, 2002 Montalbetti+Campbell
Andy Thomas, 2002 Montalbetti+Campbell

Uncommon Australians

The vision of Gordon and Marilyn Darling

Previous exhibition, 2015

This exhibition showcases portraits acquired through the generosity of the National Portrait Gallery’s Founding Patrons, L Gordon Darling AC CMG and Marilyn Darling AC.

We would like to thank our partners.
© 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.