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About the Parliament House Art Collection

Parliament House Art Collection staff installing an exhibition of Dinny Kunoth Kemarre's sculptures

Department of Parliamentary Services, 2016.

Behind the marble halls and beside the business of lawmaking you will find one of the country’s most significant—but perhaps lesser-known—art collections.

With over 6,000 works, the nationally significant collection includes important objects relating to Australia’s Parliamentary History, as well as artworks by some of Australia’s best-known artists.

The collection is displayed in both public and private areas throughout the building and showcased in our temporary exhibition program. You can find portraits of Prime Ministers, one of the largest tapestries in the world, the iconic Forecourt Mosaic, and Tom Roberts’ Big Picture.

Come and be challenged, connected, and inspired—it is all free and there is always something new to see! You can also explore our stories, exhibitions and collections highlights online.

Art at Parliament House
The Parliament House Art/Craft Program comprises of significant works commissioned for Parliament House at the time it was being built. Integral to Mitchell/Giurgola & Thorp Architects’ (MGT’s) design for Parliament House were commissions from more than 85 Australian artists and craftspeople for over 70 works of art and craft for specific locations or uses in the building and its precincts. Together they created a collection which communicates the diverse historic, cultural, and political contexts of the Parliament to Australian identity and democracy. Many of the commissions can be seen throughout the building and the surrounding grounds, such as the Forecourt Mosaic, the Great Veranda Coat of Arms, and the Great Hall Tapestry.

The Historic Memorials Collection, which dates from 1911, is Australia’s longest running art commissioning program. It holds over 260 works of art by prominent Australian artists, and includes portraits of Australia’s Heads of State, Governors-General, Prime Ministers, Presidents of the Senate and Speakers of the House of Representatives, and Justices of the High Court. It also includes portraits of important parliamentary ‘firsts’, and commemorative records of significant parliamentary events. You can see selected portraits from this collection on display on the first floor of Members’ Hall and in the Main Committee Room Foyer.

The Official Gifts Collection consists of gifts presented to the Australian Parliament and the nation. The Collection forms a record of Australia’s national and political history, reflecting the Parliaments’ relationship with other nations, and Australian states and territories. Artworks from this collection on display include significant objects such as the Women’s Suffrage Banner.

The Rotational Art Collection consists of contemporary Australian art in a variety of media, including photography, painting, prints and drawings, sculpture and craft objects, textiles, and new media. The collection enlivens the general circulation spaces of the building, as well as the offices and suites of parliamentarians. The artworks in this collection have been selected to reflect aspects of Australian culture, character and identity. Works from this collection are also showcased in our temporary exhibition program.

The Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) manages these collections to ensure the preservation, promotion, documentation and interpretation of the art and craft at Australian Parliament House for parliamentarians and the broader community. As a significant public collection of Australian art, DPS is committed to the application of best practice policies and procedures in all aspects of its dealings with artists and their works of art.

You can find out more about the Parliament House Art Collection at Frequently Asked Questions.

Find out what events are coming up at Parliament House


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