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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 Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Midget Farrelly at Palm Beach

1964
John Witzig

type C photograph on paper, edition 12/20 (mount: 81.5 cm x 101.8 cm, image: 46.5 cm x 70.0 cm)

Bernard 'Midget' Farrelly AM (1944–2016), surfer and boardmaker, grew up in Sydney and first surfed at North Bondi in the early 1950s. By 1961 he was the Australian surfing champion. The following year he won the Makaha International Championship in Hawaii, becoming the first Australian ever to take out a major surf title. The first World Surfing Championships were held at Sydney's Manly Beach in 1964; more than 60,000 people saw Farrelly take the men's crown. He remained one of the world's leading surf competitors through the 1960s, finishing second in the 1968 and 1970 world championships. In this period he co-wrote A Surfing Life and How to Surf and began to shape boards; over the 1970s he built up a successful blank-making and chemicals business, Surfblanks. Farrelly was inducted into the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame in California in July 2007.

Purchased 2007
© John Witzig

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

John Witzig (age 20 in 1964)

Midget Farrelly (age 20 in 1964)

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.

Mark Richards
Mark Richards
Mark Richards
Mark Richards

Off the wall

Magazine article by John Witzig, 2008
Photographer and surf mag editor John Witzig tells the stories behind his iconic surf images.
Dame Edna Everage
Dame Edna Everage
Dame Edna Everage
Dame Edna Everage

Bare

Degrees of undress

Previous exhibition, 2015

Bare: Degrees of undress celebrates the candid, contrived, natural, sexy, ironic, beautiful, and fascinating in Australian portraiture that shows a bit of skin. 

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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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency