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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.

June Dally-Watkins, 1949 (printed 2008)

Max Dupain

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 50.5 cm x 40.6 cm, image: 45.6 cm x 33.0 cm)

June Dally-Watkins (1927-2020), model and deportment school proprietor, grew up on a property at Watson's Creek in the New England district of New South Wales. After suffering many insults as the daughter of a single mother, as a teenager she was noticed on a Tamworth street by a photographer, who encouraged her to move to Sydney and try her luck at modelling. She described herself as 'looking like a milkmaid' at the time she scored her first assignments for major department stores, but she was named Model of the Year in 1949. Famously romanced by actor Gregory Peck during a visit to Rome in the 1950s, she returned to Australia to continue her career, marry, and raise four children. In 1950 she established the June Dally-Watkins School, which has since trained countless students in deportment and etiquette. She later established Australia's first modelling agency and a business college. More recently, she took her etiquette lessons to students in China, co-founding the Dally Institute in Guangzhou in 2013. Her autobiography The secrets behind my smile was published in 2002. Dally-Watkins died in February 2020 at the age of 92, leaving a lasting legacy not only on the Australian modelling industry, but on the thousands of students to whom she imparted impeccable manners and a knowledge of etiquette.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2008

Accession number: 2008.55

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Max Dupain (age 38 in 1949)

June Dally-Watkins (age 22 in 1949)

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.

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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.