Skip to main content

Timed ticketing is in place to safely manage visits to the Gallery, so please book ahead.

Menu

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.

Kath Walker (Oodgeroo Noonuccal) and Lois O'Donoghue (Lowitja O'Donoghue) at the opening of the inaugural National Aboriginal Conference, Canberra, 1978 (printed 2014)

Mervyn Bishop

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 40.6 cm x 50.8 cm, image: 30.3 cm x 30.5 cm)
Image not available (NC)

Kath Walker (Oodgeroo Noonuccal) (1920-1993) was an Aboriginal activist, poet and writer. Throughout her life, she aimed to promote cultural pride amongst Aboriginal people through her writing, which she described as 'sloganistic, civil rightish, plain and simple'. She became State secretary of the Federal Council for the advancement of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders in 1961, and campaigned successfully for amendments to Sections 51(xxvi) and 127 of the Constitution in 1967. In the 1970s she chaired a number of bodies set up to promote indigenous interests, including the Queensland Aboriginal Advancement League. Having gained world acclaim for her writing and advocacy (for which she was also conferred with three honorary doctorates), she published her last collection of poems, Kath Walker in China, in 1988. That year, she reassumed her tribal name in protest at the Bicentennial celebrations, and returned the MBE she had been awarded in 1970.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2015

Accession number: 2015.90

Currently not on display

Copyright image request form
Request a digital copy of an image for publication

Artist and subject

Mervyn Bishop (age 33 in 1978)

Oodgeroo Noonuccal (age 58 in 1978)

Dr Lowitja O'Donoghue AM CBE (age 46 in 1978)

Subject professions

Activism

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.

Lowitja O'Donoghue by Robert Hannaford video: 4 minutes and 5 seconds
Lowitja O'Donoghue by Robert Hannaford video: 4 minutes and 5 seconds
Lowitja O'Donoghue by Robert Hannaford video: 4 minutes and 5 seconds
Lowitja O'Donoghue by Robert Hannaford video: 4 minutes and 5 seconds

Lowitja O'Donoghue and Robert Hannaford

'I'm going to wear everything red, black, and yellow'

Portrait story

Lowitja O'Donoghue discusses her life and portrait by Robert Hannaford.

Dame Mary Gilmore, c. 1938 Lyall Trindall
Dame Mary Gilmore, c. 1938 Lyall Trindall
Dame Mary Gilmore, c. 1938 Lyall Trindall
Dame Mary Gilmore, c. 1938 Lyall Trindall

Painting writing

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2007

Dr Sarah Engledow explores the portraits of writers held in the National Portrait Gallery's collection.

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

The Gallery

Explore portraiture and come face to face with Australian identity, history, culture, creativity and diversity.

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia


Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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.