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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.

Gough Whitlam and Bob Hawke, c. 1976 (printed 2017)

Robert McFarlane

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 33.0 cm x 48.5 cm, image: 24.0 cm x 35.9 cm)

Robert McFarlane, born in Glenelg, South Australia, began work in a small advertising agency, where his interest in photography was encouraged. In 1963 he moved to Sydney, where he began freelancing for magazines including the Bulletin, Vogue Australia and Walkabout and became editor of Camera World. In the early 1970s he travelled and worked freelance overseas, and from 1973 he took still photographs on many Australian film sets and theatre stages. A regular photography critic for the Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald, he has works in the National Gallery, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the National Library as well as the National Portrait Gallery.

McFarlane took this photograph while Malcolm Fraser was prime minister: after Gough Whitlam was, and before Robert (Bob) Hawke was. Bob Hawke, lithe figure on the right, first ran for federal parliament in 1963, but did not win a seat until much later. He was elected president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) in 1969, and in 1973 he became federal president of the Labor Party, too. In the spring of 1980, he resigned from the ACTU to win the seat of Wills. By February 1983 he was Labor Party leader. Australia’s 23rd prime minister, he led the party to victory for a record four terms, in 1983, 1984, 1987 and 1990.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2017

Accession number: 2017.39

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Robert McFarlane (age 34 in 1976)

Bob Hawke (age 47 in 1976)

Hon. Gough Whitlam AC QC (age 60 in 1976)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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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.

Prime Minister Gough Whitlam pours soil into the hand of traditional land owner Vincent Lingiari, 1975 Mervyn Bishop
Prime Minister Gough Whitlam pours soil into the hand of traditional land owner Vincent Lingiari, 1975 Mervyn Bishop
Prime Minister Gough Whitlam pours soil into the hand of traditional land owner Vincent Lingiari, 1975 Mervyn Bishop
Prime Minister Gough Whitlam pours soil into the hand of traditional land owner Vincent Lingiari, 1975 Mervyn Bishop

A handful of sand

Magazine article by Ellen Kent, 2007

Ellen Kent examines the portrait of Vincent Lingiari and Prime Minister Gough Whitlam taken by photographer Mervyn Bishop.

Bob Hawke, 2012 Luke Cornish
Bob Hawke, 2012 Luke Cornish
Bob Hawke, 2012 Luke Cornish
Bob Hawke, 2012 Luke Cornish

Primed

Some Prime Ministers

Previous exhibition, 2019

Seventeen of Australia’s thirty prime ministers to date are represented in the contrasting sizes, moods and mediums of these portraits.

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.

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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.