Skip to main content

The National Portrait Gallery is temporarily closed to the public until further notice.

Menu

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
© John Spooner

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 Spooner (age 40 in 1986)

John Cargher (age 67 in 1986)

Subject professions

Media and communications

Related portraits

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

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.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

The Gallery

Visit us, learn with us, support us or work with us! Here’s a range of information about planning your visit, our history and more!

The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night

Support your Portrait Gallery

We depend on your support to keep creating our programs, exhibitions, publications and building the amazing portrait collection!

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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