About the exhibition
In celebration of 110 years of the Historic Memorials Collection (HMC), Australian Parliament House is holding an exhibition of works rarely seen by the public.
From 4 December 2021 to 15 May 2022, experience historic and contemporary portraits as well as artists’ studies. The exhibition includes exclusive interviews with artists and sitters, and tells the unique stories of awards and controversies surrounding the collection and its history.
Established in 1911 by Prime Minister Andrew Fisher, the HMC is Australia’s longest running art commissioning program and offers a unique record of the intersection of art and politics.
The collection was championed by artist Tom Roberts, who wrote to Prime Minister Alfred Deakin to ask for a collection of records painted to give ‘faithful representations’ of the first leaders of the Commonwealth.
The focus of the HMC is to represent the bodies by which Australia is governed: the Parliament, the Executive, and the Judiciary, as set out in the Constitution. It features portraits of Australia’s Heads of State, Governors-General, Prime Ministers, Presidents of the Senate, Speakers of the House of Representatives and Justices of the High Court.
The collection also includes portraits of accomplished Australians, important parliamentary ‘firsts’, such as Australia’s First Nations parliamentarians, and commemorative records of significant parliamentary events.
Image: Vincent Fantauzzo (born 1977), Julia Eileen Gillard AC (detail), 2018, Historic Memorials Collection, Parliament House Art Collection