Ern McQuillan’s Remarkable Life (Republished 4.9.19)
The world needs to “read all about it!”

I am now into the third year of working with Ernest Mervyn McQuillan OAM, talking regularly with him about his adventures as a leading Australian Press photographer in the twentieth century and exploring his remarkable “I was there” photographs. Together we have crafted materials which are ready to become recorded history. The subject matter is breathtakingly varied: world events and sport of all kinds including horse racing, cricket and several others.

Here you will find a small set of samples:
Ern was listened to by significant people, constantly
Ern was listened to by significant people, constantly.
Ern was there to record key events such as the Petrov incident.
Ern was there to record key events like the Petrov affair.
Ern flew over Australia for c. four years with "Titus" Oats (war hero) photographing Australia.
Ern flew for c. four years with “Titus” Oats (war hero) photographing Australia.
Great sportsmen such as Bart Cummins willingly posed for Ern at the height of their fame.
Great sportsmen, at the height of their fame, willingly posed for Ern.
Darby Munro – "The Demon Darb!" This, a longtime friend.
Darby Munro – “The Demon Darb!” This, a longtime friend.
 Here are links to posts written about Ern:

The Importance of Being Ernest McQuillan

Racing: More On The Importance of Being Ernest McQuillan

Books have been part of my lifetime of work as a teacher. I have been teaching the history of important people, good and bad, for all those years. I am still amazed at my good fortune in knowing Ern. If this relationship tells his stories, that luck will be even greater. I believe also it will add to the lives of every future reader.

These pictures and comments are just an iceberg tip. THE REST MAKE AN AMAZING STORY.

There is the potential for several books – on our nation’s twentieth century history, and on remarkable, passionate incidents for several sporting categories.

Any publisher (film, video, TV or Text) will find us willing and I believe able colleagues.


Royce (for Ern).

26 thoughts on “Ern McQuillan: A VITAL PART OF OUR HISTORY

  1. Hello Royce,
    Nice speaking with you today.
    I am a McQuillan genealogist associated with Clan McQuillan Association

    As I said, I have recently attempted to contact Ern McQuillan through the National Portrait Gallery, but so far I have failed.
    The Clan is vitally interested in your your research and would like to be included in your mailing list.
    My origins are Co. Armagh through Joseph 1762 – 1826. I am his third great grandson.
    Some time ago I was contacted by a McQuillan researcher in Queensland who claimed descent from Ern Snr’s family, but the contact withered on the vine, so to speak.
    I understand that Ern’s branch may also be from Co. Armagh and if so my branch may be related!
    I am retired and living in Yass NSW, where I occupy myself publishing local family histories and biographies.
    I would be very pleased to have further contact.
    Yours truly,
    Anthony J (Tony) MacQuillan

    1. Lovely to hear from you and talk with you today Tony. Next time I am in contact with the (possible) Sydney link with your family I will write back with information. This may not be for some time because of ongoing illness. I hope you keep up your writing and exploration of your family. I found your discussion very interesting. Ireland has long been one of my favourite places. I’m a real fan of Irish literature, especially Willie Yeats as poet and dramatist. The history too. It’s been a rough journey for the early Irish in Australia hasn’t it?

      Good going to you Tony.

      All my best wishes,


  2. Hi Royce

    Give Ernie my warmest regards . Thank you for documenting his remarkable life . He was a good mate of my father’s .
    Andrew Rafty

    1. Thank you Andrew. I don’t see Ern these days owing to illness. Your approved comment however will remain here for family to see. Regards and best wishes,


    2. Andrew, Could we catch up? I m using some of your father’s work in a book I am writing on the 1952 Olympic Team. I purchased a lot of your Dad’s work when it was sold at auction. I gave the caricatures of the 1952 athletes done by your father to the living Olympians or to their relatives. Framed of course! 🙂 John Treloar 0414227777

      1. Royce, I have been in contact with Ern’s Son. I have Tony Rafty caricatures and drawings of olympics. Would like to contact Andrew

      2. OK John. My only link with Andrew is via his comment on my post. Sorry I can’t link you in any other way. If you want to put a comment on this post giving Andrew your address, he might see it and it’s all right with me.
        Best wishes,


  3. Hello. Thank you for this wonderful site. Is there a way (through you?) to contact Mr. McQuillan? I have come across one of his photographs from 1960 (!) for which I would like to request permission for use in a book. I can provide more information if needed. Thank you.

    1. Hello Jim. Thanks for the kind words. I have been out of touch with Ern for over a year now. Ern is in a nursing home and I have no contact. I understand his son Mike has access to the pictures. I believe he also has a web site so if you Google Mike McQuillan, you might be able to contact him. Best wishes, Royce.

  4. Royce, Ern took photos of the 1952 Olympic Team’s Kapyla Club Reunion meetings in the 80s and 90s and later. I would love to get in contact with Ern or his family so I can get access to negatives of some of the shots he took. The printed images are not in good condition for scanning. Is Ern still alive and well? John Treloar

      1. Thank you for your kind words Andrew. Sadly Ern is no longer with us. There is a valedictory post elsewhere on this site. Your comment helps me understand that Ern lives on through his wonderful pictures. Regards,

      2. Thanks Royce and thank you for ensuring Ern’s wonderful and productive life is documented . I knew Ern through my father .

  5. I trained with Ern McQuillan’s nephew. Les, and also knew his brother. Would anyone know a contact for Les McQuillan as we were good mates. Les actually started me training in May 1958. He was one tough kid.

    1. Sorry I don’t have the link to Les. I am not in touch with Ern’s family. His son Michael McQuillan is also a photographer and might be able to help you. He is I think reachable via the net. Best wishes, Royce.

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