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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.

Murray Rose, 1956

an unknown artist

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 21.3 cm x 15.7 cm, image: 21.0 cm x 15.5 cm)

Murray Rose AM (1939-2012), swimmer, was voted by his peers in 1983 as Australia's greatest male Olympian. Rose came to Australia from England before his first birthday. Coached by Sam Herford, he was a promising swimmer even at the age of seven. In the late 1950s he was untouchable over 400 and 1 500 metres, setting a total of 15 world records. Rose won the 400m and 1500m and was a member of the 4 x 200m winning relay team at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. In 1960, he won a gold, a silver and a bronze. He won four gold medals at the 1962 Commonwealth Games, and would have competed at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics but for a decision by the Australian Swimming Union to exclude any swimmer from the Olympic trials who had not swum in the Australian championships held earlier in the year. He broke the world record in the 880 yards that year. His unusual diet, which was vegetarian and included seaweed, earned him the nickname 'the Seaweed Streak'. After his retirement from swimming Rose lived in the USA where he completed his university education and pursued a career in marketing, notably with the Los Angeles Lakers from 1987 to 1994. In the last years of his life, he lived in Sydney and worked in sports marketing and management.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2011

Accession number: 2011.78

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Murray Rose AM (age 17 in 1956)

Subject professions

Sports and recreation

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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.