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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.

First Ladies

Significant Australian Women 1913–2013

Previous exhibition from Friday 1 February 2013 until Tuesday 11 June 2013
Jessie Street, 1929 Jerrold Nathan
Jessie Street, 1929 Jerrold Nathan

First Ladies profiles women who have achieved noteworthy firsts over the past 100 years. The focus display includes Australia’s first female Governor General, Quentin Bryce; Elizabeth Blackburn, the first Australian-born woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize; and aviatrix Nancy Bird Walton, Australia’s first female commercial pilot.

First Ladies maps the milestones accomplished by Australian women across diverse fields of endeavour, from politics, activism and academia to sport, science and business, taking in the stories of household names as well as unsung heroines.

23 portraits

1Great Suffragette demonstration in London, 1911 Rose Stereograph Company. 2Self portrait, 1934 Nora Heysen. 3June Dally-Watkins, 1949 (printed 2008) Max Dupain. 4Dame Jean Macnamara, c. 1930 Donovan.
First ladies sponsors

Related information

On train from New York to Memphis, July 4, 1956 by Alfred Wertheimer
On train from New York to Memphis, July 4, 1956 by Alfred Wertheimer
On train from New York to Memphis, July 4, 1956 by Alfred Wertheimer
On train from New York to Memphis, July 4, 1956 by Alfred Wertheimer

Elvis At 21

Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer

Previous exhibition, 2013

Elvis at 21 is a photographic exhibition capturing Elvis’ rise to fame in the year 1956, before security and money built walls between him and his fans.

Sir Frank Packer KBE, 1956 Judy Cassab
Sir Frank Packer KBE, 1956 Judy Cassab
Sir Frank Packer KBE, 1956 Judy Cassab
Sir Frank Packer KBE, 1956 Judy Cassab

Judy Cassab

The artist's diary

Previous exhibition, 2013

The artist's diary profiles six decades of Cassab's work, from the early portrait commissions of the 1950s to later paintings that have helped confirm her eminent place in the canon of Australian portraiture.

Our only concern is the void, 2013 video: 12 minutes
Our only concern is the void, 2013 video: 12 minutes
Our only concern is the void, 2013 video: 12 minutes
Our only concern is the void, 2013 video: 12 minutes

Macquarie Digital Portraiture Award 2013

Previous exhibition, 2013

The Macquarie Digital Portraiture Award is an annual event intended to extend traditional notions of portraiture and reflects the National Portrait Gallery's commitment to fostering emerging artists with an interest in contemporary technology.

Dovima with elephants, evening dress by Dior, Cirque d'Hiver, Paris, August 1955 by Richard Avedon
Dovima with elephants, evening dress by Dior, Cirque d'Hiver, Paris, August 1955 by Richard Avedon
Dovima with elephants, evening dress by Dior, Cirque d'Hiver, Paris, August 1955 by Richard Avedon
Dovima with elephants, evening dress by Dior, Cirque d'Hiver, Paris, August 1955 by Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon People

Previous exhibition, 2013

American photographer Richard Avedon produced portrait photographs that defined the twentieth century. Developed in partnership with the Richard Avedon Foundation in New York, the first Australian exhibition of Avedon’s bold portraits reveals the glamour and drama of his iconic artistic work.

We would like to thank our partners.
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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.