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Caroline Jones
, 1978

by David Campbell

oil on canvas (frame: 168.5 cm x 173.5 cm, support: 160.0 cm x 165.0 cm)

Caroline Jones AO (b. 1938), writer and broadcaster, joined the ABC in Canberra in 1963. Five years later, the young woman from Murrurundi became a household name in Australia as the first female reporter on the ABC current affairs program This Day Tonight (1968 to 1972). After four years on TDT she debuted as a presenter and reporter on 4 Corners, remaining on the program to 1981. Meanwhile, from 1977 onward she broadcast regularly on ABC radio. As presenter of The Search for Meaning from 1987 to 1994, she became renowned for the gentle tact with which she drew out the stories of her interlocutors; she has since emerged as a low-key spokesperson on Christian issues. Since 1996 she has presented Australian Story. A foundation member of the Australia Council for the Arts, she has been a Reconciliation Ambassador for the Aboriginal Council for Reconciliation since 1998. That year, her book An Authentic Life – Finding Meaning and Spirituality in Everyday Life was an Australian best-seller. Her next book, Through a Glass Darkly (2009) is a heartrending chronicle of her experience of the death of her father. For more than twenty years Jones has been a designated Living National Treasure. Now a mentor for women in media, she won the Walkley Award for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism in 2013, fifty years into her career.

David Campbell (1952-1984) formed a determination to become an artist while a student at Erina High on the New South Wales Central coast. He studied from 1973 to 1977 at the Alexander Mackie College of Advanced Education. Over the following years, he lived and painted in the loft of a building on the corner of Pitt and Market streets in Sydney (now a Macdonalds franchise), supporting himself as a cleaner, a tennis coach, a professional surfer, an assistant in an aged-care facility and a waiter at Tattersalls. He only ever painted three portraits; with his first, of Adrian Rawlins, he became the youngest artist ever to have a work hung in the Archibald. For the painting of Jones, he spent many hours in the ABC studios, studying and sketching her expressions, personality and mannerisms as she taped her programs. The resulting portrait incorporates elements of his customary abstract practice. In August 1979, when twenty-two windows of the Myer store fronting two Sydney streets were filled with his watercolour paintings, the unconventional portrait of Jones was amongst them. While living and painting in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, David Campbell was killed as he rode his motorbike back to Sydney to work.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Donated by Elizabeth Campbell-MacKenzie on behalf of the family of David Campbell
Accession number: 2012.147