Skip to main content

Portrait of Benita Collings
, 1986

by Terry Milligan

gelatin silver photograph (sheet: 45.0 cm x 30.5 cm, image: 38.5 cm x 25.5 cm, frame: depth 4.2 cm)

Benita Collings (b. 1940), actor and television personality, is best known as the longest-serving presenter on Australia’s longest-running children’s television program, ABC TV’s Play School, watched by about one million children each day. Collings began her theatre training under Dame Doris Fitton at Sydney’s Independent Theatre in 1955. She started working with the ABC in 1959, and at around the same time joined the Ensemble Theatre, gaining experience in theatre production as well as in lead acting roles. Alongside her three decades on Play School, she acted in Division 4, Homicide, Rafferty’s Rules, A Country Practice, The Restless Years and The Sullivans as well as several feature films. She has recorded nine albums and CDs, mainly for Play School, and has worked as a narrator with the Sydney, Tasmanian, West Australian and Queensland Symphony Orchestras and the Sydney Youth Orchestra. She continues to appear occasionally on television and stage.

Terry Milligan, now a Buddhist monk, recalls taking this photograph of Collings at an anti-nuclear rally in Sydney.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2010
Accession number: 2010.62