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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Women Make History

Now on display in Galleries Seven, Eight and Nine

Mary Chomley
Mary Chomley, 1909 Violet Teague

Well behaved women seldom make history, as the saying goes, and the National Portrait Gallery, consequently, is full of awesome Australian women who refused to conform to narrow ideas about their place and their worth. This selection of works from the Gallery’s collection samples 100 such stories. Suffragettes, war heroes, wordsmiths and Nobel laureates; rock stars, record-breakers, divas and fashionistas; from the first woman elected to the House of Representatives to the first female Chief Justice of the High Court: Women Make History provides irrefutable proof that national portrait galleries aren’t all about dead white males. 

More portraits on display

1 Emily Kame Kngwarreye with Lily, 1993 Jenny Sages. © Jenny Sages. 2 Helena Rubinstein in a red brocade Balenciaga gown, 1957 Graham Sutherland. © Estate of Graham Sutherland. 3 Dame Nellie Melba, c. 1890 Walery. 4 Rosie Batty, 2017 Nikki Toole. © Nikki Toole. 5 Carlotta, Kings Cross (Les Girls), 1970-1971 Rennie Ellis. © Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive www.RennieEllis.com.au. 6 Dame Judith Anderson, 1962 Don Bachardy. © Don Bachardy.

Related information

Play on (A portrait of Neale Daniher)
Play on (A portrait of Neale Daniher)
Play on (A portrait of Neale Daniher)
Play on (A portrait of Neale Daniher)

Collection Highlights Tour

11:15am, Daily from Sat 4 Jun

Take a 30 minute tour of the Portrait Gallery exploring the collection and the building.

Collection display in Gallery Five, 2019
Collection display in Gallery Five, 2019
Collection display in Gallery Five, 2019
Collection display in Gallery Five, 2019

Collection display galleries

Current exhibition

Open every day

The collection display includes a wide selection of portraits that tell extraordinary stories of encounter, exploration, independence, individuality and achievement in Australia.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

The Gallery

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© National Portrait Gallery 2022
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency