National Portrait Gallery, Canberra

Portraits of Deborah Mailman (1999) & Alex Dimitriades (2005) on show in the National Portrait Gallery. Photo: Visit Canberra.
Portraits of Deborah Mailman (1999) & Alex Dimitriades (2005) on show in the National Portrait Gallery. Photo: Visit Canberra.

The good, the bad and the ugly on display

Situated in front of the High Court and alongside the National Gallery of Australia, the National Portrait Gallery has on display the good, the bad and the ugly, highlighted in all kinds of mediums. Everyone from Captain James Cook to Keith Urban, from William Bligh to Chrissy Amphlett, from Charlie Perkins to Casey Stoner, is depicted in ink, paint, cartoon, drawing or caricature. Portraits come in all forms, even video depiction. There are politicians, poets, artists, activists, actors, sinners, saints, criminals and cops, mostly well known, but also some obscure and fascinating characters.

The police mug shots in the form of postcards tell some intriguing stories – like the one of Olga Radalyski convicted of the murder of Mabel Ambrose whose naked and pregnant body was found by some kids in a trunk floating in the Yarra River in 1899. The Yarra Boot Trunk Tragedy, as it was called, was a national sensation at the time.

The Portrait Gallery holds numerous events throughout the year, along with movie screenings and talks. There is a great café and, with a fascinating array of items, it’s really hard to avoid picking up something from the book and gift shop.  The Gallery is open every day of the year from 10am to 5pm except Christmas Day 25 December. Paid parking is available Monday to Friday underneath the building but free on weekends.

If you go:

National Portrait Gallery
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra ACT 2600
Tel: +61 (0)2 6102 7000

Explore local itineraries via the links below

Canberra Feast of Festivals … Join the year-round fun
Canberra for Culture Vultures … Home to Australia’s main museums and galleries
Canberra’s Art, Design and Craft … Watch artists in action
Canberra for Families … There’s no such thing as being bored with these top things to see and do
Canberra’s Family Dining Scene … Top choices for hungry appetites
Canberra’s Indoor Family Activities … Young imaginations run free
Canberra’s Outdoor Family Adventures … Recreational paradise for big and little kids alike
The Australian Story in Canberra … A city that reflects the national journey

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