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.

The Bee Gees, Kings Cross

1970-1971
Rennie Ellis

selenium-toned silver gelatin photograph on paper, edition 9/60 (image: 29.1 cm x 44.1 cm, sheet: 40.7 cm x 51.0 cm)

Known as the 'Kings of Disco', The Bee Gees have sold over 120 million records worldwide and are among the highest-selling musical artists in history. The Bee Gees' trademark harmonies were performed by brothers Barry Gibb CBE (b. 1946) and twins Robin Gibb CBE (1949–2012) and Maurice Gibb CBE (1949–2003). Barry was born on the Isle of Man, and his brothers in Manchester. Having performed together as The Rattlesnakes, they emigrated to Australia in 1958, settling in Redcliffe, just north of Brisbane. Playing gigs at Redcliffe Speedway and along the Gold Coast, they attracted the attention of radio DJ Bill Gates, who played their songs on his wireless program Swinging Gates's Platter Chatter, and Col Joye, who helped them get a record deal in 1963. After several singles, in 1965 they released their first LP, with the unambiguous title The Bee Gees Sing and Play 14 Barry Gibb Songs. Their 1966 single 'Spicks and Specks' reached number one and was named Go-Set's single of the year just as the band left to seek its fortune in London. Their debut English single, 'New York Mining Disaster 1941', was the first of many international hits. In 1977 their soundtrack album for Saturday Night Fever would become the largest-selling movie soundtrack in history (although it was unaccountably overlooked for Oscar nomination); at one point, Barry could count five of his songs in the US Top 10 at once. In 1979 they starred alongside Peter Frampton in their first and last Hollywood movie, the big-budget calamity Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, The Bee Gees gradually ceased to exist as a unit with the sudden deaths of Maurice in 2003 and Robin in 2012. (The trio's younger sibling Andy died in 1988, aged 30.) Barry Gibb remains one of the most successful songwriters of all time. Accompanied by his mother, he unveiled a statue and walkway commemorating The Bee Gees in Redcliffe in early 2013.

Purchased 2021
© Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive

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

Rennie Ellis (age 30 in 1970)

The Bee Gees

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.

Bon Scott & Angus Young, Atlanta, Georgia
Bon Scott & Angus Young, Atlanta, Georgia
Bon Scott & Angus Young, Atlanta, Georgia
Bon Scott & Angus Young, Atlanta, Georgia

No shirt, no service

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Bon Scott and Angus Young photographed by Rennie Ellis are part of a display celebrating summer and images of the shirtless male.

Rosaleen Norton, Witch of Kings Cross
Rosaleen Norton, Witch of Kings Cross
Rosaleen Norton, Witch of Kings Cross
Rosaleen Norton, Witch of Kings Cross

Aussies All

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

Rennie Ellis photographs the self-proclaimed 'Witch of Kings Cross'.

© 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