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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.

Chang the Chinese giant and party

c. 1871
Paterson Brothers

carte de visite photograph (support: 10.4 cm x 6.4 cm, image: 9.5 cm x 5.8 cm)

Chang Woo Gow (1840s-1893), known as Chang the Chinese Giant, first appeared publicly in London in the mid-1860s. Thousands marvelled at his height and proficiency in many languages. With his wife, Kin Foo, he arrived in Australia from the USA in 1870 and toured the country for several years. Here, after Kin Foo died, Chang met and married Catherine Santley. They had one son in China and one in Paris before moving to England. After a stint with Barnum and Bailey's 'Greatest Show on Earth', Chang retired with his family to Bournemouth, where he opened a tearoom with a sideline in Chinese curios and fabrics.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2010

Artist and subject

Paterson Brothers

Chang Woo Gow (age 31 in 1871)

Subject professions

Performing arts

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 portrait writ large

Magazine article by Karen Vickery, 2015

Karen Vickery on Chang the Chinese giant in Australia.

Sideshow Alley

Infamy, the macabre & the portrait

Previous exhibition, 2015

Death masks, post-mortem drawings and other spooky and disquieting portraits... Come and see how portraits of infamous Australians were used in the 19th century.

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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 National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency