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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.

Ken Catchpole, 2014

Gary Grealy

inkjet print on paper (frame: 143.0 cm x 116.5 cm, image: 99.0 cm x 74.0 cm)

Ken Catchpole OAM (1939-2017), former rugby union international, excelled at various sports in his school years in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, but began to show real prowess in rugby as a student at Scots College in the 1950s. Selected for the GPS first XV in his final years at high school, his club rugby career commenced with Randwick in 1958. In 1959 he made his debut for New South Wales in a match against the British Lions. Selected for the Wallabies, aged 21, in 1961, he became one of the few players to make their Test debut as captain, leading the side to three victories over Fiji at home and then on a tour of South Africa. Declared by one pundit to be ‘the greatest halfback the world has known’ following Australia’s wins over Wales and England in 1966-67, Catchpole was known for his quick and supremely accurate passing, and in combination with fly-half, Phil Hawthorne, is held to have engineered a number of historic victories, such as a series win against the touring Springboks in 1965. Having played a total of 27 Tests with the Wallabies (thirteen as captain), Catchpole suffered a career-ending leg injury in a match against the All Blacks in 1968. A member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame since 1985, Catchpole was added to the Wall of Fame at the World Rugby Museum at Twickenham in 2004 and the following year became one of the first five players inducted into the Wallabies Hall of Fame. In 2013 he and his former teammate, John Thornett, were among the six Australians honoured by the International Rugby Board with inclusion in its Hall of Fame.

Gary Grealy (b. 1950) has established himself over many years as one of Sydney’s leading commercial and portrait photographers with work commissioned by leading advertising agencies and major national and international clients. His work has been exhibited in prestigious photographic competitions both here and overseas, and he has been a finalist in the National Photographic Portrait Prize five times. Consequently, the National Portrait Gallery’s collection includes his portraits of commercial gallery directors Geoffrey Legge and Frank Watters (a NPPP finalist for 2009); and former Art Gallery of NSW Director, Edmund Capon (a finalist in 2012). In 2014, businessman and arts patron Patrick Corrigan AM provided the Gallery with funds to commission a series of portraits of rugby greats and jazz musicians. This work is the first in the series. To date, Corrigan has donated or contributed to the acquisition of some 130 works for the collection.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Commissioned with funds from the Patrick Corrigan Portrait Commission Series 2014

Accession number: 2014.46

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Gary Grealy (age 64 in 2014)

Ken Catchpole (age 75 in 2014)

Subject professions

Sports and recreation

Related information

The Companion

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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.

Ken Catchpole, 2014 Gary Grealy
Ken Catchpole, 2014 Gary Grealy
Ken Catchpole, 2014 Gary Grealy
Ken Catchpole, 2014 Gary Grealy

Full time

Magazine article by Alistair McGhie, 2017

Alistair McGhie reminisces about three Australian rugby greats commissioned for the Portrait Gallery collection by Patrick Corrigan AM.

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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.