National Portrait Gallery

  • Phone: (02) 6102 7000
  • Address:
    National Portrait Gallery
    King Edward Terrace
    Parkes, Canberra, ACT 2600
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Even though the National Portrait Gallery is the youngest of Australia’s national cultural institutions, the idea has been around for over a century. In the early 1900s, the painter Tom Roberts was the first to propose that Australia should have a national portrait gallery, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that the possibility began to take shape.The 1992 exhibition ‘Uncommon Australians’ – developed by the Gallery’s founding patrons, Gordon and Marilyn Darling – was shown in Canberra and toured to four state galleries, reigniting the idea of a national portrait gallery.Program Bookings:Ph: (+61 2) 6102 7070E: the first ten years of the National Portrait Gallery’s life, the spaces of Old Parliament House provided an apt location for the various programs and exhibitions exploring the traditions and currency of portrait practice in Australia.In 1994, under the management of the National Library of Australia, the Gallery’s first exhibition was launched in Old Parliament House. It was a further four years before the appointment of Andrew Sayers as Director signalled the establishment of the National Portrait Gallery as an institution in its own right, with a board, a budget and a brief to develop a collection of portraits reflecting the breadth and energy of Australian culture and endeavour.The opening of displays in the refurbished Parliamentary Library and two adjacent wings of Old Parliament House in 1999 endorsed the Gallery’s status and arrival as an independent institution.The Gallery is open every day from 10am - 5pm except Christmas Day 25 December.

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Past events

Digital Creator

29th February

Explore virtual identities by making a simple augmented reality experience in this Digital Creator workshop led by artist Jess Herrington. Learn how...


Drawn in: Sebastian Field

23rd February

Spend an afternoon drawing in Gordon Darling Hall while listening to music of Sebastian Field. All materials provided; for all ages and abilities. No need...


PortraitAu filters

20th December

Put yourself in the picture with an Instagram filter created for @PortraitAu by artist Jess Herrington. As you move your camera in and around your face,...


Slow afternoons

16th January

Responding to the curatorial design of our Eye to Eye exhibition, which encourages viewers to slow down and spend time looking, our learning facilitators...


Wendy Sharpe - in conversation

2nd February

Join leading Australian artist Wendy Sharpe, as she discusses her interest in painting people, with particular reference to her bold, evocative portrait...


Story time

8th January

Listen to the story Thelma The Unicorn by Aaron Blabey and create your own visual response. All materials provided; designed for 4 to 8 year olds. All...


Scattering colour

28th January

Experiment with colour combinations, breaking up colour and making it do different things in this workshop inspired by colourful portraits in the Gallery....


Drawn in: As Famous As The Moon

26th December

Spend an afternoon drawing while listening to music of As Famous As The Moon. All materials provided; for all ages and abilities. No need to book....


Women in Vogue: Celebrating 60 Years in Australia

11th October

This exhibition showcases 60 years of the Vogue Australia archive together with a special tribute to some remarkable Australian women who have featured in...