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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.

Bob Brown at his home in Liffey, 1988 (printed 2013)

Helga Leunig

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 29.7 cm x 42.0 cm, image: 25.6 cm x 38.0 cm)

Bob Brown (b. 1944), environmentalist, doctor and senator, is an environmental campaigner and former Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens. The son of a country policeman, Brown studied medicine at Sydney University and in 1972 moved to Tasmania, where he worked as a general practitioner in Launceston. His passion for the Tasmanian wilderness was sparked by a rafting trip down the Franklin River in 1976, the same year that he became a founding member of the Wilderness Society. From then until 1983 he famously led the campaign against proposed dam-works on the Franklin, during which he was arrested and gaoled. The river was subsequently preserved with a World Heritage Listing. In 1983, he began a decade in the Tasmanian House of Assembly as the Member for Denison. He was elected to the Federal Senate as a member of the Tasmanian Greens in 1996 and later joined West Australian Greens Senator Dee Margetts in founding the Australian Greens. At the 2001 Federal election Brown was re-elected to the Senate with a greatly increased vote. Brown has overseen the emergence of the Greens from a fringe to a mainstream political force and remains one of the most-recognised Australian political figures, known for his outspokenness on the environment as well as human rights and social justice issues. His memoir Memo for a saner world was published in 2004.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Helga Leunig 2013

Accession number: 2013.74

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Helga Leunig

Bob Brown (age 44 in 1988)

Donated by

Helga Leunig (4 portraits)

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.

Olegas Truchanas, 1971 Ralph Hope-Johnstone
Olegas Truchanas, 1971 Ralph Hope-Johnstone
Olegas Truchanas, 1971 Ralph Hope-Johnstone
Olegas Truchanas, 1971 Ralph Hope-Johnstone

Giving a dam

True south #1

About Face article

22 May 2020

Ensconced and meditative in crisp Tasmania, Joanna Gilmour pays tribute to passionate green advocate and photographer Olegas Truchanas.

Interview with Bob Brown video: 12 minutes
Interview with Bob Brown video: 12 minutes
Interview with Bob Brown video: 12 minutes
Interview with Bob Brown video: 12 minutes

Bob Brown

In defence of the 'leech ridden ditch'

Portrait story

Bob Brown discusses the events that occurred during the Franklin River campaign as depicted in his portrait by Harold 'The Kangaroo' Thornton.

Dr Brown and Green Old Time Waltz, 1983 Harold Thornton
Dr Brown and Green Old Time Waltz, 1983 Harold Thornton
Dr Brown and Green Old Time Waltz, 1983 Harold Thornton
Dr Brown and Green Old Time Waltz, 1983 Harold Thornton

Where the wild things are

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

Michael Desmond explores the complex portrait of Dr Bob Brown by Harold 'The Kangaroo' Thornton.

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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.