This Australian national art collection is showcased in an impressive purpose-built gallery within the parliamentary precinct. You can justifiably bypass the ticketed exhibitions as almost every big name you could think of from Australian and international art, past and present, is represented in the permanent collection. Famous works include Blue Poles by Jackson Pollock, one of Monet's Waterlilies, a Hockney Diver, several of Sidney Nolan's Ned Kelly paintings, Salvador Dali's Lobster Telephone, an Andy Warhol Elvis print and a triptych by Francis Bacon.
Highlights include the extraordinary Aboriginal Memorial from Central Arnhem Land in the lobby, created for Australia's 1988 bicentenary. The work of 43 artists, this 'forest of souls' presents 200 hollow log coffins (one for every year of European settlement) and is part of an excellent collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. Most of the Australian art is on the 1st floor, alongside a fine collection of Asian and Pacific art. The outdoor sculpture garden offers a dramatic site for repose. A children's program runs on weekends and school holidays.
Free guided tours are offered hourly from 10.30am to 2.30pm.