artists represented


1915 Born at Cremorne, New South Wales on 6 February. Named Donald Stuart Leslie Moses.

1920 His family changes its name to Friend, that of his paternal grandmother’s maiden name.

1927 – 29 Attends Cranbrook School, Sydney

1930 Enrols at Sydney Grammar School

1932 – 33 Travels in Queensland and Torres Strait

1934 Enrols in Dattilo-Rubbo’s Classes in Sydney

1936 Travels to London and Studies at the Westminster School

1938 Travels to West Africa

1940 Returns to Queensland and moves to Far North Queensland

1942 Enlists as Gunner in the Australian Infantry Forces. Posted at Hume camp near Albury

1943 Posted first to Greta near Maitland, New South Wales, and then to North Queensland. Edited extracts from the first three volumes of his war diaries are published as Gunner’s Diary.

1944 Returns to Greta and is then posted to Chermside camp near Brisbane

1945 Appointed as an official was artist and in June accompanies invasion forces to Labuan and Borneo, where he contracts a serious hand infection.

1946 Demobilised and joins the Merioola Community before going to live in the Torres Strait. Edited extracts of his war diaries are published as Painter’s Journal.

1947 Moves to Hill End with Donald Murray where he buys and restores a cottage. His father dies in October.

1949 – 50 Travels in Europe and visits London

1952 – 53 Travels in Europe and the United Kingdom, returning to Australia in 1953

1954 Travels in Queensland

1955 Researches and writes Hillendianna (published in 1956)

1962 Returns to Australia to live in Paddingotn, Sydney.

1963 Visits and Commences correspondence with Ian Fairweather.

1965 Travels to Penang, Sri Lanka and Africa. Donald Friend by Robert Hughes is published.

1966-67 Travels in South-East Asia, the Middle East and Europe

1968 – 69 Lived in Bali where contracted tuberculosis while working on the book Bali and Other Islands.


1970 – 74 Lives in Bali. Publishes Donald Friend in Bali.


1975 His mother dies on 13 December

1979 Returns to Australia to live in Melbourne. Bumbooziana is published in August. National Library buys his manuscript of ‘Birds from the Magic Mountains’

1981 Moves to Bondi Junction, Sydney. During a visit to Melbourne in December is hospitalised and diagnosed as a diabetic.

1982 Donald Friend Australian War Artist 1945 by Gavin and Coleen Fry is published

1983 Voyage of the Tamar is published by Griffin. National Library buys the manuscript of ‘Ayam-Ayam Kesayangan’, Volume 3.

1984 Moves to Paddington, Sydney. National Library formally acquires the first instalment of his diaries and the manuscripts of Bumbooziana and The Story of Jonah.


1985 The Holdsworth Gallery holds a retrospective exhibition to mark Friend’s 70th birthday

1987 Continues to work despite deteriorating health, producing his first series of etchings in more than 50 years. In September he suffers the first of several strokes, leading him to learn to draw and write with his right hand, and move to Woollahra

1988 Awarded University Medal by the University of Sydney in recognition of his services to art.

1989 Dies in his sleep on 16 August

1990 A major retrospective exhibition opens at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in February and subsequently tours to several State Galleries.

Group Exhibitions

1937 R.E.A. Wilson’s Gallery, London.

1940 Macquarie Galleries, Sydney

1941 Blaxland Gallery, Sydney

1961 ‘Recent Australian Painting’ Whitechapel Gallery


Solo Exhibitions 

1937 R.E.A. Wilson’s Gallery, London.

1942 Macquarie Galleries, Sydney

1950 Redfern Gallery, London

1964 Clune Gallery, (sculpture)

1973 Galerie, Drouant, Paris

1978 ‘Recent Paintings’

1980 ‘Australian Paintings’ Holdsworth Galleries, Sydney

1981 ‘Recent Paintings and Drawings’ Philip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane

1983 Philip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane

1985 ‘Five Year Survey of Paintings and Drawings’ Holdsworth Gallery

1985 Australian Galleries, Melbourne

1989 ‘Retrospective’ Philip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane

1990 ‘major touring retrospective; Art Gallery of NSW

1996 ‘Fifty Years of Painting, Drawings and Etchings, 1938 – 1988’ Philip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane


1951 Flotta Lauro Travelling Art prize

1955 Blake Prize with St John the Divine and Scenes from the Apocalypse

1962 named ‘Artist of the Year’ at the Festival of Perth, Western Australia

1988 University Medal by the University of Sydney in recognition of his services to art.


NGA and all state galleries

Many regional and other public galleries

Numerous Public and Corporate Collections

Selected Bibliography

Hughes, Robert, Donald Friend, Edwards and Shaw, Sydney, 1965