Skip to main content

Coming to visit? Ticketed entry is in place to safely manage your visit so please book ahead. Need to cancel or rejig? Email bookings@npg.gov.au

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.

Ellie Cole

2016 (printed 2021)
Peter Brew-Bevan

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 108 cm x 150 cm, frame: 112.2 cm x 154.3 cm depth 4.4 cm)

Ellie Cole OAM (b. 1991), swimming champion, is a six-time Paralympic gold medallist. Two years old when she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in her right leg, at age three she underwent surgery to amputate the limb above the knee. Shortly afterwards, her parents enrolled her in swimming lessons to help with her rehabilitation. Swimming competitively by age twelve, she was fifteen when she competed in the World Championships for the first time, winning a silver medal. Having qualified for the Paralympic Games in 2008, she embarked for Beijing with few expectations other than to 'have a little bit of fun', but instead she returned to Melbourne with three medals. At the Paralympics in London in 2012, she won four gold medals and two bronze medals. In 2016 – having recovered from two shoulder reconstructions and having won three 2015 world titles – she won six medals at the Paralympics in Rio. Cole was selected for the 2021 Paralympics in Tokyo, her fourth Games.

Wylie's Baths in Coogee is the dramatic backdrop for Peter Brew-Bevan's 2016 portrait of Cole. Photographed for a feature article about Australian women competing in the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio for Marie Claire magazine, Cole's portrait appeared again in 2020 to coincide with the launch of Rising Phoenix, a Netflix documentary profiling six athletes who competed at the 2012 Paralympics.

Purchased with funds provided by the Annual Appeal for Contemporary Australian Photography 2021
© Peter Brew-Bevan

Artist and subject

Peter Brew-Bevan (age 47 in 2016)

Ellie Cole OAM (age 25 in 2016)

Subject professions

Sports and recreation

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.

Ellie Cole

'I always dreamed of being a mermaid'

Portrait story

Ellie Cole on the freedom of the pool and being photographed by Peter Brew-Bevan.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

The Gallery

Visit us, learn with us, support us or work with us! Here’s a range of information about planning your visit, our history and more!

© 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 both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency