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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.

Norman Hetherington OAM (and friends)

2008
Kate Rae

oil on canvas (support: 137.0 cm x 167.5 cm)

Norman Hetherington OAM (1921–2010), cartoonist and puppeteer, was the creator of Mr Squiggle, one of the ABC’s longest-running children’s television programs. Born in Sydney, Hetherington contributed his first cartoon to The Bulletin while still at high school and studied art at the East Sydney Technical College in the late 1930s. After war service, he joined the Bulletin full-time, working there alongside artists like Norman Lindsay. During the 1950s he began to pursue his puppetry hobby further, performing puppet shows at libraries and during the children’s matinees at various Sydney cinemas. By 1957, he was working in television, creating several children’s programs before Mr Squiggle went to air in 1959. Initially planned as a fill-in, the show ran for 40 years throughout which countless children sent in their ‘squiggles’ for conversion into completed drawings by the eponymous marionette – a ‘visitor from outer space’ with a pencil for a nose. Hetherington voiced and manipulated Mr Squiggle himself; his wife, Margaret, wrote the scripts; and, for a time, daughter Rebecca appeared as Mr Squiggle’s assistant. An exhibition of Hetherington’s work was presented by Mosman Art Gallery in 2005, five years before his death at age 89.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist, Kate Rae and Mosman Art Gallery with the encouragement of the Hetherington family 2015
© Kate Rae

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Kate Rae

Norman Hetherington OAM (age 87 in 2008)

Donated by

Mosman Art Gallery (1 portrait)

Kate Rae (1 portrait)

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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 past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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