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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 Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Elizabeth Blackburn

2011
Hugh Hamilton

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 40.5 cm x 30.3 cm, image: 37.6 cm x 28.3 cm)

Elizabeth Blackburn AC (b. 1948) shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009, becoming the first Australian woman Nobel laureate. Through her research, Blackburn discovered the molecular structure of telomeres, and co-discovered the enzyme telomerase, offering hope for cancer treatment and clues to the mystery of ageing. Born in Hobart, the child of two doctors, she gained her master's degree in biochemistry from the University of Melbourne before receiving her PhD from Cambridge in the early 1970s, and undertaking postdoctoral work at Yale in 1975. She joined the Department of Molecular Biology at the University of California in Berkeley in 1978. Blackburn moved to the University of California, San Francisco in 1990, where she is now Professor Emeritus, Biochemistry and Biophysics. Blackburn continues to study the effects of stress on telomerase and whether lifestyle interventions can promote telomere repair, and shared her findings in her 2017 book The Telomere Effect: The New Science of Living Younger. She is a mentor to other research scientists and a strong advocate for women forging a career in science.

Australian-born, Los Angeles-based photographer Hugh Hamilton captured this portrait of Blackburn in a boardroom at Microsoft's Mountain View campus in California. Eager to get back to her research, Blackburn granted Hamilton five minutes to take the photograph.

Purchased with funds provided by Marilyn Darling AC 2011
© Hugh Hamilton/Copyright Agency, 2021

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

Hugh Hamilton (age 54 in 2011)

Elizabeth Blackburn AC (age 63 in 2011)

Supported by

Marilyn Darling AC (30 portraits supported)

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.

Andy Thomas
Andy Thomas
Andy Thomas
Andy Thomas

Uncommon Australians

The vision of Gordon and Marilyn Darling

Previous exhibition, 2015

This exhibition showcases portraits acquired through the generosity of the National Portrait Gallery’s Founding Patrons, L Gordon Darling AC CMG and Marilyn Darling AC.

Jessie Street
Jessie Street
Jessie Street
Jessie Street

First Ladies

Significant Australian Women 1913–2013

Previous exhibition, 2013

First Ladies profiles women who have achieved noteworthy firsts over the past 100 years.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

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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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency