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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.

Sir Frank Packer

Louis Kahan

fibre-tipped pen on paper (sheet: 44.3 cm x 33 cm)

Sir Douglas Frank Hewson Packer KBE (1906-1974), media proprietor, grew up in Sydney and became a cadet journalist on the Daily Guardian, owned by his father RC Packer, in 1923. Four years later he became advertising director of Smith's Newspapers Ltd, of which his father owned a large share. In June 1933 he and his mentor, EG Theodore, published the first edition of the Australian Women's Weekly - an instant success. Three years later, having inherited all his father's media interests, he formed Consolidated Press Ltd with Theodore and became its managing director. After World War II, in which he served on the Allied Works Council and, briefly, in New Guinea, he ramped up his papers' support of the Liberal and Country parties, during the Cold War 'turning increasingly to the right', according to his biographer Bridget Griffin Foley. Later, he was dubbed a 'king-maker' for his role in the rise of Prime Minister William McMahon. In 1955 he established Television Corporation Ltd, which began transmitting through TCN 9 the following year. He was knighted in 1959, two years before he acquired and revivified the Bulletin. A keen sportsman from his unscholarly schooldays, Packer played golf and polo, bred horses and boxed. He was an aggressive sailor, and chaired a syndicate that built Gretel and Gretel II to challenge the America's Cup in 1962 and 1970. In 1972, after he had been made KBE, he sold the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph to Rupert Murdoch, who had previously paid tribute, albeit equivocally, to Packer's business acumen. By the time he died, still mourning the loss of his papers and planning to restart his presses, his Australian Consolidated Press was the largest magazine publisher in the southern hemisphere. Packer's first wife, Gretel Bullmore, died in 1960. In 1964 he married Florence Porges in London, and they returned to live in Australia. Upon his death his empire passed to his younger son, Kerry.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Mrs Lily Kahan 2017
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program

Accession number: 2017.69

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Louis Kahan

Sir Frank Packer

Donated by

Lily Kahan (52 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.

Self portrait, 1949 Louis Kahan
Self portrait, 1949 Louis Kahan
Self portrait, 1949 Louis Kahan
Self portrait, 1949 Louis Kahan

A guy from Paris

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2018

Sarah Engledow on a foundational gallery figure who was quick on the draw.

Sir Frank Packer KBE, 1956 Judy Cassab
Sir Frank Packer KBE, 1956 Judy Cassab
Sir Frank Packer KBE, 1956 Judy Cassab
Sir Frank Packer KBE, 1956 Judy Cassab

Vintage Cassab

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

The oil portrait of Sir Frank Packer KBE by Judy Cassab was gifted to the National Portrait Gallery in 2006.

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

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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.