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Rosie Batty
, 2017

by Nikki Toole

type C photograph (frame: 89.8 x 76.8 cm, sheet: 87.0 x 74.0 cm)

Rosie Batty (b. 1962), campaigner against family violence, became well known to the Australian public in early 2014, when her 11-year-old son Luke was murdered by his father as she stood waiting to take him home from cricket practice. English-born Batty backpacked in Australia in 1986, and returned permanently in 1988. Luke was born in 2002. Over the following decade, his father became increasingly erratic and aggressive and a court order restricted his access to mother and son. Unbeknownst to Batty, by early 2014 he had four warrants out for his arrest. After he killed Luke Batty, police shot him; the next day, he died. Very soon after, Rosie Batty made a dignified public statement that stunned the nation. In 2015, the year after Luke’s seemingly unspeakable death, she was Australian of the Year, using her position to call for widespread recognition of, and action on, domestic violence. The issue is now prominent in Australian public discourse, with various government initiatives, advertising campaigns, sports associations and charities – including the Luke Batty Foundation – maintaining the momentum. Rosie Batty’s memoir A Mother’s Story was published in 2015.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Commissioned with funds provided by the Circle of Friends 2017
Accession number: 2017.133