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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.

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type C photograph on paper (sheet: 45.5 cm x 35.0 cm, image: 40.6 cm x 30.3 cm)

Jimmy Barnes AO (b. 1956), singer/songwriter, is a solo performer and the former lead singer of the quintessential Australian pub band, Cold Chisel. Born in Glasgow, Barnes immigrated to Adelaide with his family at age five. At seventeen Barnes joined Cold Chisel, which had been formed by Ian Moss, Steve Prestwich and Don Walker in 1973. After five years performing around the country, the band released the strong-selling Cold Chisel (1978). They followed up with Breakfast at Sweethearts before hitting the mainstream with East (1980), which went triple-platinum. Two more albums were followed by a tour of the UK and the USA in late 1982, but international success eluded the band. They announced their disbandment in August 1983; a final tour was filmed as Last Stand, and their 'last' studio album, Twentieth Century, was released in 1984 (they reformed to make another in 1998). Their many live albums, compilations and EPs have combined to make Cold Chisel the only Australian band to have sold more records after they broke up than when they were together. After leaving Cold Chisel, Barnes became Jimmy Barnes and has since released twenty solo albums including Flesh and Blood (2021) – thirteen of them reached number one, the most in ARIA chart history. His two bestselling autobiographies, Working Class Boy (2016) and Working Class Man (2017), were followed by a book of non-fiction short stories, Killing Time (2020) and a children's book, Rosie the Rhinoceros (2021).

Gift of John McLean 2008
© Grant Matthews

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

Grant Matthews

Jimmy Barnes AO (age 28 in 1984)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Donated by

John W. McLean (1 portrait)

Related portraits

1. Jimmy and Jane Barnes, 2020. All Jesse Lizotte.

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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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