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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.

John Clarke

2004
Julian Kingma

type C photograph on paper (sheet: 80.3 cm x 62.7 cm, image: 70.0 cm x 52.5 cm)

John Clarke (1948-2017), satirist and humourist, moved to Australia in the 1970s from New Zealand, where he had begun performing in university revues and was named Entertainer of the Year in 1976. Within a few years he had become well known here in the persona of laconic farmer Fred Dagg. Dagg’s monologues aired six days a week for three years on the ABC. In 1981-1982 Clarke published The Fred Dagg Scripts and Daggshead Revisited, which soon sold over 20 000 copies. In March 1982, the year he was nominated for an AFI award for co-writing the Paul Cox film Lonely Hearts, Clarke and the ABC fell out over suitable topics for satire, but in 1984 Clarke resurfaced on the ABC in The Gillies Report, in which he presented deadpan reports on the fictional sport of farnarkeling. In 1989, 1990 and 1993 he co-wrote three ‘Royal Commissions’ with Ross Campbell. From 1989 to 1997 he appeared regularly with Bryan Dawe on A Current Affair, and in 1998 he returned to ABC screens in a hilarious mocumentary about the Sydney Olympics, The Games. In 2003 he wrote the screenplay adaptation of the Shane Maloney novel Stiff; in 2004, he wrote and appeared in the adaptation of The Brush-Off by the same author. He recently wrote, presented and co-produced the documentary series Sporting Nation. His interviews with Bryan Dawe spanning 25 years have been released on CD, DVD and in book form; he has published many other humorous books.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2012
© Julian Kingma

Artist and subject

Julian Kingma (age 36 in 2004)

John Clarke (age 56 in 2004)

Subject professions

Performing arts

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.

Humour’s warm refuge

Magazine article by Angus Trumble, 2017

Angus Trumble pays tribute to John Clarke.

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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 National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency