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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.

Cathy Freeman

1994 (printed 2010)
Bill McAuley

type C photograph on paper (sheet: 35.5 cm x 49.1 cm, image: 27.5 cm x 41.0 cm, frame: depth 4.2 cm)

Catherine ‘Cathy’ Freeman OAM (b. 1973), athlete, was born in Mackay, Queensland. Her mother is of the Kuku Yalanji people, born on Palm Island, and her father was of the Burri Gubba people, born in Woorabinda. Moving around with her mother in her early years, by the age of fourteen she had won several national titles and received a scholarship to boarding school in Toowoomba. At sixteen she became the first Australian Aboriginal runner to win a Commonwealth Games gold medal. Later, she became the first Aboriginal track and field athlete to represent Australia at the Olympic Games, winning the silver medal for the 400m in Atlanta in 1996. In 1998 she was named Australian of the Year. After she lit the Olympic flame at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, expectations for her 400m final were enormous. Accelerating away from the pack at the final bend, Freeman took gold in one of the all-time great Australian sporting moments. On her victory lap, she carried both the Australian and Aboriginal Australian flags. Freeman retired from running in July 2003, still enjoying the immense popularity she earned during her exceptional career. The Cathy Freeman Foundation, established in 2007, continues to enhance opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in remote and under-resourced communities.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2010
© Bill McAuley

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

Bill McAuley (age 43 in 1994)

Cathy Freeman OAM (age 21 in 1994)

Related information

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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.

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

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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 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.

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