Margaret Anderson GM (1915-1995) served with the Australian Army Nursing Service during World War II. On the way from Singapore to Australia her ship, 'The Empire Star', which carried 2,500 Australians, was targeted by a Japanese air raid. Leaving the safety of the hold and under heavy fire, she sheltered soldiers with her own body and attended to the wounded. She was awarded the George Medal for Bravery for her actions.
Napier Waller, best known as the artist who designed the mosaics for the Australian War Memorial's Hall of Memory, made this pastel as one of a series. It was used in a patriotic publication, which noted that Anderson 'symbolises the steadfast, efficient spirit of a glorious branch of the services.
Accession number: 1999.73
More about the artist and subject
Magazine article, Portrait 16
The line of fire
Michelle Fracaro examines the life of World War II nurse Margaret Anderson, whose portrait by Napier Waller is in the NPG collection.
Permanent collection catalogue
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.