Bernard 'Midget' Farrelly (1944–2016), surfer and boardmaker, grew up in Sydney and first surfed at North Bondi in the early 1950s. By 1961 he was the Australian surfing champion. The following year he won the Makaha International Championship in Hawaii, becoming the first Australian ever to take out a major surf title. The first World Surfing Championships were held at Sydney's Manly Beach in 1964; more than 60,000 people saw Farrelly take the men's crown. He remained one of the world's leading surf competitors through the 1960s, finishing second in the 1968 and 1970 world championships. In this period he co-wrote A Surfing Life and How to Surf and began to shape boards; over the 1970s he built up a successful blank-making and chemicals business, Surfblanks. Farrelly was inducted into the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame in California in July 2007.
Accession number: 2007.32
More about the artist and subject
Sound of the sea
An exhibition of photographs by John Witzig, drawings by Nicholas Harding and film footage by Albe Falzon, expressive of the free-spirited, hot-blooded energy of Australian surfers under the cloud of conscription to Vietnam.
Magazine article, Portrait 27
Off the wall
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.