7 December 2015
One of Australia’s most distinguished painters, Ray Crooke AM, has left a legacy of unique works that capture life in far north Australia and the Pacific Islands.
Born in Melbourne in 1922, Ray had a long and distinguished career as one of Australia’s most recognised painters. In 1993, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of service to the arts, particularly as a landscape artist.
He trained at Swinburne Tech from 1946 to 1948 following army service in Western Australia, North Queensland and Borneo. Influenced greatly by his time working for the Diocese of Carpentaria on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, he began painting scenes of island life.
In 1948, Ray began exhibiting his works in Melbourne and today is represented in many significant collections including the National Gallery of Australia and National Portrait Gallery of Australia a testament to his unique talent and vision.
He won the Archibald Prize in 1969 for a portrait of close friend, writer George Johnston. In the mid-1990s, he donated his collection of works by Drysdale, Friend, Olley and Boyd to the Perc Tucker Regional Gallery in Townsville, which mounted North of Capricorn, a major retrospective of his work that toured in 1998 and 1999.
I extend my condolences to Ray’s family and friends.
Media contact: Justine Sywak | 0448 448 487 | Justine.Sywak@communications.gov.au