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The National Portrait Gallery Canberra

Dian Wellfare Honored as My Favorite Australian Unsung Hero at the opening of the National Portrait  Gallery Canberra 3rd December 2008

View Dians Portrait
My Favourite Australian tour itinerary:

NSW    Goulburn Regional Art Gallery                           7 August -12 September 2009

VIC      Mildura Arts Centre                                          1 September – 23 October 2009

QLD     Gold Coast City Art Gallery                               31 October - 10 December 2009

QLD     Noosa Regional Gallery                                    6 November - 6 December 2009

SA        Millicent Art Gallery                                         16 Janurary – 26 February 2010

NSW    Tweed River Regional Art Gallery                      22 January - 14 March 2010

NSW    Grafton Regional Gallery                                  3 February - 14 March 2010

QLD     Cairns Regional Gallery                                   19 March – 16 May 2010

TAS      Burnie Regional Art Gallery                              1 March – 11 April 2010

WA      Bunbury Regional Art Gallery                            23 April – 20 June 2010

It was a great honor for Debbie, Dian’s sister and Lily Arthur to be invited to the opening of the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, the opening was attended by Kevin Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull, and a list of whos’ who of art and politics even the former Prime Minister John Howard was there with  his wife Jeanette, drinks were laid on tap and the following day the Gallery held a morning tea with a meet and greet the artists.

Dian’s portrait was a moving and powerful vinaigrette of photos of her life and video footage from  ABC interviews the artist Merilyn Fairsky captured the spirit of Dian  beautifully and was delighted when told that her work really was a testament to our beloved leader, Dian shared the honor with 19 Unsung Heroes and 10 “Sung heroes including,  Olivia Newton-John, Peter Cundall ,John Farnham, Bob Brown, John Howard, Fred Hollows, Gough Whitlam, Sir William Deane, Johnny Warren, Tim Costello.


The exhibit will be shown until march next year and after that will travel around the country.  If you are unable to go and see it personally you can view it online at the following address,


There is also a booklet that has been printed and a copy of it will be sent hopefully with the next news letter if the gallery provides us with enough to go around here is a brief synopsis for those member who do not have internet

Dian Wellfare (1951-2008) was founder and president of Origins Inc., an organisation founded in 1995 that supported people separated by adoption. She fought for the rights of mothers who lost children to past adoption practices and counselled countless adoptees over many years. Twice taking on the State of New South Wales through the Supreme Court, her fight brought about a Parliamentary Inquiry that concluded routine adoption practices were illegal. Artist’s Statement

"Dian Wellfare, 1951-2008, founder of Origins, surrendered her baby to adoption aged sixteen. Unwed teen mothers were forbidden eye contact with their babies. I edited archival footage, and chose photos where Dian makes eye contact with us. Her eyes speak of loss; her voice speaks of her anger and drive for justice." — Merilyn Fairskye

Nominators Statement

"A victim of adoption separation, Dian broke the silence and found her voice. Dian fought to give other mothers of adoption loss a voice. She spoke out against the government fearlessly for its inhumane and often illegal practices in separating single mothers from their newborn children and placing the children for adoption. Dian has been an inspiration to many, both in Australia and overseas." — Marijke Rigby, nominator, reunited adoptee, London, UK


Director — Merilyn Fairskye
Research — Anna Williams
Post Production — Greg Ferris
Thanks to — Debbie Wellfare, Lily Arthur, Origins NSW + Brian May (ABC Archives)


Dian as a school girl




The ABC Lateline Program 1997

Calling for an Inquiry ABC Lateline 1997

Clip from 1966 Documentary

Dian's sister Debbie and Lily Arthur

Debbie, Merilyn the artist, and Lily

Favourite Australians