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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.

John Cargher holding a long play record, c. 1986

John Spooner

pen and ink and brush and ink on paper laid on cardboard (sheet: 38.3 cm x 28.6 cm)

John Cargher AM (1919-2008), music broadcast presenter, grew up in England, Germany and Madrid. Leaving school at 13, he began working in a factory and became a toolmaker. Meanwhile, he began attending opera performances at Sadler's Wells and Covent Garden, and managed to pick up some backstage work. While serving in the RAF during World War 2 he bought and sold 78 rpm records for shellac, while keeping some back for his own collection. After working in theatre and television production, he migrated to Australia in 1951, to manage record shops in Melbourne. In April 1966 he began hosting the weekly program Singers of Renown on ABC Melbourne. Though conceived as a 13-part series, the program continued, and went national in 1976. Cargher remained its unpretentious, encyclopaedic writer and presenter until the week before he died in 2008, his forty-two years and 2124 programs at the microphone earning him the record for the longest run of any combined program and presenter in Australian radio history. Cargher also presented Music for Pleasure for thirty years from 1967, and managed the National Theatre in St Kilda from 1969 to 1989. His books include How to Enjoy Opera Without Really Trying (1987) and an autobiography, Luck Was My Lady: Memoirs of a Workaholic (1996).

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2009

Accession number: 2009.39

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

John Spooner (age 40 in 1986)

John Cargher (age 67 in 1986)

Subject professions

Media and communications

Writing

Related portraits

1. John Spooner, 2001 (printed 2011). All Lorrie Graham.
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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.