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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.

Pub Rock Grant Matthews

Jimmy Barnes at The Coogee Bay Hotel 1984 (detail) Grant Matthews. Gift of John McLean 2008

Pub Rock

Your backstage pass to 70s and 80s sounds and scenes

Previous exhibition
from Saturday 5 September 2020 until Sunday 14 March 2021

Celebrate the people, places and sounds of Australian pub rock and its enduring impact on our nation’s identity.

Get in amongst the staged portraits, publicity shots and grungy energy of live performance as pioneering acts like The Easybeats, Little Pattie and Johnny O’Keefe share the stage with global players and local favourites. The line-up includes AC/DC, Midnight Oil, Cold Chisel, INXS, Nick Cave, The Bee Gees, Kylie Minogue, Paul Kelly, Yothu Yindi, Marcia Hines and many more.

This vibrant (sometimes sweaty) exhibition of homegrown rock ‘n’ roll, punk and pop features works from the NPG collection alongside images by leading Australian music photographers.

See the legends AND hear them!

We made you a Spotify playlist, so turn it up to 11 and go wild (or mild, whatever your style) while you browse the exhibition!

What was your favourite gig? Legendary or guilty secret? Tell us for a chance to win...

Related people

Joanna Gilmour (curator)

Related information

Surfing, Noosa, 1970s Stuart Spence
Surfing, Noosa, 1970s Stuart Spence
Surfing, Noosa, 1970s Stuart Spence
Surfing, Noosa, 1970s Stuart Spence

The play’s the thing

About Face article

18 November 2020

Penelope Grist charts an immersive path through Stuart Spence’s photography.

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.

Self portrait
Self portrait
Self portrait
Self portrait

Elegance in exile

Portrait drawings from colonial Australia

Previous exhibition, 2012

Elegance in exile is an exhibition surveying the work of Richard Read senior, Thomas Bock, Thomas Griffiths Wainewright and Charles Rodius: four artists who, though exiled to Australia as convicts, created many of the most significant and elegant portraits of the colonial period.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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 both past and present.

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

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency