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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.

Ann Moyal, 1957

Pamela Thalben-Ball

oil on canvas (frame: 80.5 cm x 67.6 cm, support: 76.5 cm x 63.5 cm)

Ann Moyal AM (1926-2019), historian of Australian science, graduated from the University of Sydney in 1947. Moving to London on a scholarship to the Institute of Historical Research, she spent several years researching at Chatham House and from 1954 to 1958 was personal research assistant to the press baron, politician and historian, Lord Beaverbrook, as he wrote Men and Power 1917-1918. She returned to Australia to the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University in 1958 where as Research Fellow, she helped Sir Keith Hancock found the Australian Dictionary of Biography. In 1962 she was appointed jointly Research Associate of the Department of History and the Australian Academy of Science, to unite the humanities and science in the history of Australian science. Director the Science Policy Research Centre at Griffith University from 1977 to 1979, she founded the Independent Scholars Association of Australia in 1995. Her many books include "A Bright and Savage Land": Scientists in Colonial Australia (1986); Clear across Australia: A history of telecommunications (1984); Portraits in Science (1994), Platypus: The Extraordinary Story of how a curious creature baffled the world (2001) and The Web of Science (2004). She wrote two sparkling autobiographies, Breakfast with Beaverbrook: Memoirs of an independent woman (1995) and A woman of Influence: Science, men and history (2014). She was awarded a Doctorate of Letters by the ANU for her publications in 2003 and an honorary D.Litt by the University of Sydney in 2007.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Ann Moyal 2012
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program

Accession number: 2012.143

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Pamela Thalben-Ball (age 30 in 1957)

Ann Moyal (age 31 in 1957)

Subject professions

Education and research

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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.

Ann Moyal, 1957 Pamela Thalben-Ball
Ann Moyal, 1957 Pamela Thalben-Ball
Ann Moyal, 1957 Pamela Thalben-Ball
Ann Moyal, 1957 Pamela Thalben-Ball

The elegant thinker

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2020

Sarah Engledow pens a fond farewell to acclaimed science historian Ann Moyal.

Dame Mabel Brookes, c.1955 William Dargie
Dame Mabel Brookes, c.1955 William Dargie
Dame Mabel Brookes, c.1955 William Dargie
Dame Mabel Brookes, c.1955 William Dargie

The hands have it

Magazine article by Angus Trumble, 2016

Angus Trumble treats the gallery’s collection with a dab hand.

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The National Portrait Gallery
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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.