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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.

Death mask of George Melville courtesy of National Trust of Australia (Victoria), Old Melbourne Gaol Collection

A colourful story from Sideshow Alley

Infamy, the macabre & the portrait
About Face article

From infamous bushranger to oyster shop display, curator Jo Gilmour explores the life of George Melville.

Thomas Woolner

The mystery of Enoch Arden

About Face article

Tennyson's Enoch Arden was inspired by a story that Thomas Woolner passed on to him – but whose story and of whom?

Vy (Cowsill) 2016 by Rozalind Drummond

Joyful sadness

About Face article

Rozalind Drummond’s photographs in the exhibition Tough and tender let us bring our imagination to the act of looking.

Gough Whitlam

Prime Ministers

About Face article

On the day before the Hon. E. G. Whitlam, AC, QC, died last month, at the great age of 98, there were seven former prime ministers of Australia still living, plus the incumbent Mr. Abbott – eight in all.

HM Queen Elizabeth II

Longest reign

About Face article

Queen Elizabeth II is now the longest-reigning British sovereign

Cooey: an Australian song

Cooey! An Australian Song

About Face article

"Coo-ey, Coo-ey, Coo-ey, Coo-ey—Love has caught the strain, Coo-ey, Coo-ey, Coo-ey, Coo-ey—it whispers back again." The “Australian lady” who composed these fruity lyrics was none other than Desda— Jane Davies, sometime Messiter (née Price) of Leddicott, Lavender Bay.

Percy, Reginald, Monty and George Faithfull, undated by Henry Dorner. Image courtesy the National Museum of Australia.

An affray which deserves particular mention

Ben Hall and his gang outdone, 6 February 1865
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Bushranger Ben Hall and his cronies held around 40 people hostage in a pub north-west of Goulburn, telling their captives ‘don’t be alarmed; we only came here for a bit of fun’.

Field Marshal the Lord Birdwood

Centenary of ANZAC

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Just now we pause to mark the centenary of ANZAC, the day when, together with British, other imperial and allied forces, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed at Gallipoli at the start of the ill-starred Dardanelles campaign.

Thomas Woolner

Missing Persons

Thomas Woolner in Australia
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Desperately seeking Woolner medallions

Portrait of HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark

Tribute: Mary Isabel Murphy

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The Chairman, Board, Director and all the staff of the National Portrait Gallery mourn the loss of our Benefactor, Mary Isabel Murphy.

Andrew George Scott, alias Captain Moonlite, c.1879 attributed to Charles Nettleton

Diseased curiosity

Captain Moonlite et al on trial for murder
About Face article

Just after 10.00 o'clock on 3 December 1879, four prisoners were brought from their cells at Darlinghurst Gaol and placed in the dock of a courtroom heaving with agitated spectators

The great South Sea caterpillar transformed into a Bath Butterfly (Sir Joseph Banks)

The Bath Butterfly

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The caricaturist and engraver James Gillray's biting satires about Sir Joseph Banks. 

The selfie stick

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Last week ABC Television came to interview me about selfie sticks. The story was prompted by the announcement that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has lately prohibited the use of these inside their galleries. So far as I am aware we have not yet encountered the phenomenon, but no doubt we will before too long.

20/20 launch speech

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Dr Helen Nugent AO, Chairman, National Portrait Gallery at the opening of 20/20: Celebrating twenty years with twenty new portrait commissions.

Grateful admiration and brotherly love

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In the earliest stages of the Great War, the Royal Pavilion in Brighton was turned into a military hospital, and arrangements made there to accommodate the different dietary and other requirements of Hindu, Sikh and Muslim patients.

Angus and the late Peter C. Trumble, 1965, still then a firm advocate of the detachable collar.

Dementia and the arts

About Face article

That principle of equity of access has ever since been a noble aspiration for all public art museums, as it is for us here at the National Portrait Gallery.

© National Portrait Gallery 2023
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