Skip to main content

The National Portrait Gallery is temporarily closed to the public until further notice.

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.

John Dease

1941
Max Dupain OBE

gelatin silver photograph on paper (mount: 52.8 cm x 39.1 cm, sheet: 49.0 cm x 37.0 cm, image: 48.3 cm x 37.0 cm)

Conly John Paget Dease (1906-1979), actor and broadcaster, spent thirty years as one of the signature voices of the ‘Golden Age’ of Australian radio. Dease was born in Burma (Myanmar) while his British father was serving in the 91st Punjabi Regiment. In 1923, after school in England, 17 year-old Dease emigrated under South Australian Premier Henry Barwell’s ‘Farm Apprentice Scheme’. (One farmer complained that this ‘Barwell Boy’ was lazy and ‘always reading’.) Released from the apprenticeship in 1925, Dease worked as a teacher before studying drama with Doris Fitton at the Independent Theatre in Sydney and joining the JC Williamson theatrical company. In 1935, Dease began his broadcasting career as an announcer with 2GB, part of the rapidly growing Macquarie Radio Network. Dease hosted various programs. For 25 years, he attracted one of the station’s biggest followings with ‘World-Famous Tenors’, for which he developed the fictitious persona of ‘an old Irish concert-master’ complete with ‘time-worn violin’ and nostalgic reminiscences. So real was he to listeners that some requested violin lessons for their children. In 1946, he helped young actor Peter Finch establish the Mercury Theatre. Dease became the popular and enthusiastic host of ‘Quiz Kids’, which ran on radio from 1942 to 1962 and involved five children aged between 11 and 15 answering listeners’ questions – those left unanswered brought the listener a cash prize. During the 1970s, Dease took character roles in film and television.

Gift of Danina Dupain Anderson 2017. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.

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

Max Dupain OBE (age 30 in 1941)

John Dease (age 35 in 1941)

Donated by

Danina Dupain Anderson (34 portraits)

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.

Sydney Ure Smith
Sydney Ure Smith
Sydney Ure Smith
Sydney Ure Smith

Dupain detective

Magazine article by Johanna McMahon, 2019

Johanna McMahon revels in history and mystery in pursuit of a suite of unknown portrait subjects.

Hélène Kirsova in Petrouchka
Hélène Kirsova in Petrouchka
Hélène Kirsova in Petrouchka
Hélène Kirsova in Petrouchka

Vintage Max

Magazine article by Gael Newton, 2003

Gael Newton delves into the life and art of renowned Australian photographer, Max Dupain.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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 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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency