Australian Pub Rock Exhibition Opens

AC/DC's Angus Young in 1978 by Rennie Ellis

The National Portrait Gallery’s new show Pub Rock is a backstage pass to 70’s, 80’s and 90’s Australian music sounds and scenes – and is the next best thing to a live show.

Missing the mosh pit or just deprived of live music of any description whatsoever? The staff at National Portrait Gallery have tuned into this aspect of what 2020 is lacking, turning around a new exhibition in a record 3 months from start to finish, in order to help us all get us get a bit closer to the performance stage, via their new exhibition: Pub Rock.

Pub Rock opens today, with a juicy collection of portraits and photographs from Australia’s music scene from the 1960’s to the 1990’s. Capturing not just the legends on stage but also the sweat, grit and energy of the crowds all squeezed and pressed in together next to the stage taking in the best of Australia’s rock, punk and pop music.

While the majority of Pub Rock’s content from the galleries own archives, they also reached out for contributions from famous Australia rock photographers including Tony Mott, Stuart Spence, Grant Matthews, Bob King and ‘pling (Kevin Prideaux).

Jimmy Barnes at The Coogee Bay Hotel 1984 Grant Matthews. © Grant Matthews
Jimmy Barnes at The Coogee Bay Hotel 1984 Grant Matthews. © Grant Matthews

Artists featured range from AC/DC, Divinyls, Midnight Oil, Paul Kelly, Rose Tattoo, Easybeats and Little Pattie, Bee Gees, Sherbet, Split Enz to Kylie Minogue and Olivia Newton John.

There is even a Pub Rock Spotify playlist which has been put together to for all to listen to while browsing the exhibition.

Sherbet, 1974 by Lewis Morley

For those unable to travel to Canberra to view Pub Rock in person, you can get a good taste from what’s shown on the website, plus there are several free virtual options including Pub Rock Access All (Virtual) Areas on Friday 11 September and Pub Rock Trivia on Thursday 8 October (bookings essential).

Exhibit:           Pub Rock

Dates:             September 5th 2020 – February 14th 2021

Location:       National Portrait Gallery, King Edward Terrace, Parkes ACT 2600

Cost:                Entry is free but bookings are essential at

Kylie Minogue performs at Tour of Duty Concert at Dill Stadium by Matthew Sleeth

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