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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.

Portrait of Benita Collings, 1986

Terry Milligan

gelatin silver photograph on paper (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

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Terry Milligan (age 45 in 1986)

Benita Collings (age 46 in 1986)

Subject professions

Performing arts

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Featuring striking photographic portraits of contemporary figures from the National Portrait Gallery collection, The Look is an aesthetic treat with a lashing of je ne sais quoi.

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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.