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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.

Charles Perkins on a bus to Tranby Aboriginal College, Glebe

c. 1964 (printed 2015)
Robert McFarlane

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 41.3 cm x 33.0 cm, image: 33.0 cm x 21.8 cm)

Charles Perkins AO (1936-2000) was for thirty-five years a leader of the Aboriginal rights movement. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Sydney in 1965, and was a prominent organiser of and participant in the anti-discrimination 'freedom rides' through country New South Wales in the following year. He was the manager of the Foundation for Aboriginal Affairs from 1965 to 1969, chairman of the Aboriginal Development Commission in 1981, and head of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs from 1984 to 1989. Robert McFarlane has worked as a freelance magazine photographer since 1963. He took this photograph for Walkabout magazine. McFarlane has exhibited widely and also works as a photography critic, currently writing for the Sydney Morning Herald.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 1999
© Robert McFarlane/Copyright Agency, 2021

Artist and subject

Robert McFarlane (age 22 in 1964)

Charles Perkins AO (age 28 in 1964)

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.

Director John Duigan and actor Judy Davis on the set of ‘Winter of our Dreams’, Sydney, 1981 by Robert McFarlane
Director John Duigan and actor Judy Davis on the set of ‘Winter of our Dreams’, Sydney, 1981 by Robert McFarlane
Director John Duigan and actor Judy Davis on the set of ‘Winter of our Dreams’, Sydney, 1981 by Robert McFarlane
Director John Duigan and actor Judy Davis on the set of ‘Winter of our Dreams’, Sydney, 1981 by Robert McFarlane

Natural born stiller

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2016

Penelope Grist speaks to Robert McFarlane about shooting for the stars.

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The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

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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