Situated in front of the High Court and alongside the National Gallery of Australia, the National Portrait Gallery has on display the good, the bad and the ugly, highlighted in all kinds of mediums. Everyone from Captain James Cook to Keith Urban, from William Bligh to Chrissy Amphlett, from Charlie Perkins to Casey Stoner, is depicted in ink, paint, cartoon, drawing or caricature. Portraits come in all forms, even video depiction. There are politicians, poets, artists, activists, actors, sinners, saints, criminals and cops, mostly well known, but also some obscure and fascinating characters.
The police mug shots in the form of postcards tell some intriguing stories – like the one of Olga Radalyski convicted of the murder of Mabel Ambrose whose naked and pregnant body was found by some kids in a trunk floating in the Yarra River in 1899. The Yarra Boot Trunk Tragedy, as it was called, was a national sensation at the time.
The Portrait Gallery holds numerous events throughout the year, along with movie screenings and talks. There is a great café and, with a fascinating array of items, it’s really hard to avoid picking up something from the book and gift shop. The Gallery is open every day of the year from 10am to 5pm except Christmas Day 25 December. Paid parking is available Monday to Friday underneath the building but free on weekends.