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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.

Judith Wright

1988 (printed 2021)
Jacqueline Mitelman

inkjet print on paper (image: 40 cm x 30 cm)

Judith Wright (1915–2000), poet, conservationist and Aboriginal land rights campaigner, was born at Thalgaroch Station, near Armidale, NSW, into a pastoralist family whose origins go back to the first settlement in the Hunter Valley in the 1820s. After studying English at the University of Sydney, she travelled in Europe from 1937 to 1938, before settling in Sydney to write. She wrote 'an occasional modest, thoughtful poem', but when Japan entered the war, she returned to help on the family property, Wollomombi. During this time, she rediscovered her love of the countryside and also had the opportunity to think deeply about her art, leading to the first intensely creative period of her writing. From 1943 to 1947 she worked at the University of Queensland, where she met and married the philosopher and writer J.P. McKinney. Her first major volume of poetry, The Moving Image (1946) was said to have 'brought a sense of excitement and anticipation to the Australian literary world of the time'. It was followed by Woman to Man (1949), which won the Grace Leven Prize for Poetry, The Gateway (1953), The Two Fires (1955), Birds (1961), The Other Half (1966), and Alive (1973), among many others. She also wrote novels, short stories, children's stories and literacy criticism. A conservationist, Wright co-founded the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland and was president from 1964 and 1976. Through the 1960s and early 1970s she was devoted to protecting the Great Barrier Reef from oil drilling and campaigned against land mining on Fraser Island, which she evoked in her poem 'Australia 1970'. She was also an active supporter of Aboriginal land rights. The Canberra suburb 'Wright' is named after her.

Purchased with funds provided by Jillian Broadbent AC 2021
© Jacqueline Mitelman

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

Jacqueline Mitelman (age 36 in 1988)

Judith Wright (age 73 in 1988)

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.

Jacqueline Mitelman

'Buddha-nature'

Portrait story

Australian photographer, Jacqueline Mitelman, discusses her process for creating portraiture.

The family
The family
The family
The family

Big bouquet of Blackmans

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2013

Dr. Sarah Engledow explores the context surrounding Charles Blackman's portrait of Judith Wright, Jack McKinney and their daughter Meredith.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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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 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.

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