Skip to main content

Mark Ella
, 2015

by Nikki Toole

type C photograph (frame: 126.7 cm x 106.5 cm, image: 118.8 cm x 98.5 cm)

Mark Ella AM (b.1959) was one of four Australians named amongst the eleven inaugural ‘legends’ of the International Rugby Board Hall of Fame in 2013. From a family of twelve children, Mark, his twin Glen and their brother Gary all represented the Australian Schoolboys in 1976, and played for the side in Britain in 1977/78. From 1979, Mark Ella was five-eighth for Randwick, playing in eight Grand Finals. He made his Test debut as part of the Bledisloe Cup-winning side in New Zealand in 1980. In all, he played 26 Tests for Australia, captaining the side in ten. In 1983 he was voted Young Australian of the Year. In 1984, he scored tries in all four victorious Test matches against the UK and Ireland before retiring from rugby at the age of 25. In 2013 he was elected one of the four original Australian Rugby Invincibles. A founding director of the communications, marketing and events management company Horton Ella, he is now the executive producer of NITV Sport at SBS Australia, and is chairman of the NSW and ACT Indigenous Cricket Advisory Committee.

Nikki Toole, Scottish-born photographer, studied film and photography in London and Edinburgh and has exhibited in Australia, Britain, the USA and Germany. Now based in Melbourne, she has been a finalist in the National Photographic Portrait Prize multiple times. The National Portrait Gallery commissioned this work in 2015, and in 2017 commissioned Tool to create a portrait of anti-violence campaigner Rosie Batty in 2017.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Commissioned with funds from the Patrick Corrigan Portrait Commission Series 2015
Accession number: 2015.117