Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday, 11am-5pm

Watson Road

Observatory Hill (The Rocks)

Portia Geach Memorial Award 2017

  • This event finished on 26 November 2017


The  Portia Geach Memorial Award is Australia’s most prestigious art prize for portraiture by women artists.

The Award was established by the will of the late Florence Kate Geach in memory of her sister, Portia Geach. The non-acquisitive award of $30,000 is awarded by the Trustee for the entry which is of the highest artistic merit, ‘…for the best portrait painted from life of some man or woman distinguished in Art, Letters, or the Sciences by any female artist resident in Australia during the twelve months preceding the close date for entries.’

Born in 1873 in Melbourne, Portia Geach studied with John Singer Sargent and Lawrence Alma-Tadema in London and was also a lifelong activist for women’s rights. She established the Housewives Progressive Association of New South Wales, The Housewives Magazine in 1933 and the Progressive Journal two years later to promote issues such as equal pay for women and the right to hold public office.

Visitors can vote in the People’s Choice Award and the winning artist will receive $1,000. The award is given by Heather & Hilary Macorison in memory of Winifred & Harry Macorison.


Tasmanian artist Amanda Davies has won the 2017 Portia Geach Memorial Award, with her painting Portrait of Pat Brassington.

Highly Commended artists are Effie Pryer Marieke Hardy, and Clare Thackway Bend.

The People’s Choice Award valued at $1,000, and given by Heather & Hilary Macorison in memory of Winifred & Harry Macorison, was won by Kathrin Longhurst for her portrait Maia at 12 and a half


2017 Finalists:


11 October 2017 | Art Almanac ‘

20 October 2017 | Art Almanac ‘

20 October 2017 | Art Guide, Tiarney Meikus 

10 November 2017 | The Examiner, Tess Brunton ‘


Sunday afternoons @ the Gallery

Sunday 29 October at 3pm – Join exhibiting artists Louise Chircop, Filippa Buttita & Shaz Rhodes for a discussion on portraiture painting

Sunday 5 November at 3pm  – Panel conversation about contemporary portraiture – Convened by Richard Morecroft  with artists Alison Mackay, Clare Thackway & Zoe Young

Sunday 12 November at 3pm – Leah Fraser, Nicolette Page  & Caroline Zilinsky join us to discuss their works in the exhibition

Public programs are FREE with exhibition entry

* talks & speakers are subject to change without notice

image: Amanda Davies Portrait of Pat Brassington – Winner, 2017 Portia Geach Memorial Award


Finalists – 2017 Portia Geach Memorial Award

Jessica Alexander                  Staring down the new year  (self portrait)

Esmeralda Raven Aponte     Self and creativity (self portrait)

JA Arnott                                Sarah (Sarah Sutton, artist)                                                        

Danelle Bergstrom                The Vivisector (David Williamson)

Jo Bertini                                Re-reading: Interior Landscape (Thomas Studer, composer, musician, designer, photographer, filmmaker)                         

Kate Beynon                           Self portrait with son Rali, wearing warrior women shirts

Kate Birrell                             Glen Huntly portrait (self portrait)                                                    

Cynthia Breusch                    Melanie sewing (after Vilhelm Hammershøi) (Melanie Liertz, costume & set designer)     

Claire Bridge                          Emerge (Tamara Dean, artist)                                                          

Filippa Buttitta                      Pru as Joan of Arc & the battle to end abuse (Pru Goward, politician)

Ann Cape                                Peter (Peter Pinson, artist, author, educator & historian)                                         

Louisa Chircop                      Jane Caro  (Social commentator, author, broadcaster and lecturer)                

Yvette Coppersmith            Portait with white dove (self portrait)

Amanda Davies                    Portrait of Pat Brassington (artist)                                                     

Sinead Davies                       Fionnbharr Davies  (cyber security analyst)

Nicolette Eisdell                   Leon resting (Leon Fink AM, restaurateur & entrepreneur)                                 

Esther Erlich                        Pupa (self portrait)                                                                              

Rosa Fedele                          Insane in the Montaigne (Jessica Cerro, singer/songwriter)

Marina Finlay                      Keith Robinson (actor)

Leah Fraser                          Lauren Brincat, Calyptorhynchus Banksii                                                                                                                 

Jaq Grantford                      Lior  (musician, singer, songwriter)

Kyra Henley                         Aimee & Kit  (Aimee Cullen, designer)

Sophia Hewson                  Untitled (Self portrait wrestling Ron Jeremy)                              

Michelle Hiscock                The poet  (Richard James Allen)

Pollyxenia Joannou           Polly (self portrait)

Kate Kurucz                        Dark studio  (self portrait)                                                                        

Kim Leutwyler                   Journey as Destination II  (self portrait)                                                

Kathrin Longhurst            Maia at 12 and a half  (Maia Longhurst)

Susan Ma                            Looking ahead – Ron Ramsey, Executive Director, Art Gallery Society NSW   

Alison Mackay                   Quid Pro Quo – Gary Grealy

Marie Mansfield                Study of Kathrin Longhurst, artist                                                  

Matilda Michell                 Self portrait with four circles  (self portrait)

Camellia Morris                  The look of Love:  a portrait of photographer Jon Love          

Kirsty Neilson                     Integrity trumps pressure (Dr Munjed Al Muderis, hip & knee surgeon

Nicolette Page                   Anthony ‘The Man’ Mundine                    

Effie Pryer                          Marieke Hardy (writer, producer, artistic director of Melbourne Writer’s Festival)

Lucy Pulvers                      Portrait of my sister, Alice (Alice Pulvers, artist)    

Marian Quigley                 The custodian – Anne Davie OAM (Sustainable farmer and former physiotherapist)    

Victoria Reichelt              Woods (self portrait)

Shaz Rhodes                     The duchess dreams of being an artist  (self portrait)

Melissa Ritchie                 The washing can wait (Natalie Bassingthwaighte, actor, singer, presenter)

Sally Ross                          Skye (Skye Klingender, design consultant)

Wendy Sharpe                  Self portrait with The Menin Gate

Loribelle Spirovski          Brief candle (John Bell AO, OBE, actor)  

Kate Stevens                     My father’s father (Damian Stevens, arts administrator)                                        

Vanessa Stockard             Self portrait       

Clare Thackway                Bend (Laura Bracken, dancer & writer)                                                                     

Caroline Thew                  Joanna Murray-Smith (playwright)                                               

Deborah Walker              The Compass – (Alexandra as aviatrix Amy Johnson in Australia)  (Alexandra Faive, yoge teacher)

Mirra Whale                     The island (William Beeche, artist’s step-father, rag & bone man)

Christine Wrest Smith    Portrait of Herta Kluge-Pott (artist)                       

Zoe Young                          My mother, myself (self portrait)                                                   

Lucila Zentner                  Breakfast dreaming (Alma Salta Zentner-Pitman, artist’s daughter)

Caroline Zilinsky             Roz Wason Tucker (Miss Australia 1979)


2016 – Jenny Rodgerson, Bound by the big red coat

2015 – Natasha Bieniek, Sahara (self portrait)

2014- Sophie Cape, Romper stomper

2013 – Helene Grove, Self portrait getting on

2012 – Sally Robinson, The artist’s mother

2011 – Kate Stevens, Indian dream

2010 – Prudence Flint, Scrambled egg

2009 – Christine Hiller, The Old Painter

2008 – Jude Rae, Self Portrait 2008 (The Year My Husband Left)

2007 – Maryanne Coutts, Melbourne

2006 – Lucy Culliton, Self with Friends

2005 – Jude Rae, Large Interior (Micky Allan)

2004 – Nerissa Lea, The Sheik & Me, Self Portrait with Imagined Portrait of Chad Morgan after Frida Kahlo

2003 – Wendy Sharpe, Self Portrait with Tea Cup and Burning Paintings

2002 – Vicki Varvaressos, Self Portrait with Painting

2001 – Mary Moore, At Home

2000 – Nancy Borlase, The Sisters: Marie and Vida Breckenridge

1999 – Kim Spooner, Social Currency (Eva Cox)

1998 – Anita Rezevska, Self Portrait – Woman from Riga

1997 – Maria Isabel, Cruz Maria

1996 – Su Baker, Self Portrait at Six Paces

1995 – Wendy Sharpe, Self Portrait with Students, After Adelaide Labille-Guiard

1994 – Jenny Sages, Ann Thomson

1993 – Aileen Rogers, Suzanne Mourot

1992 – Jenny Sages,Nancy Borlase and Laurie Short

1991 – Rosemary Valadon, Frances Joseph

1990 – Jenny Watson, Self Portrait

1989 – Jenny Sands, Alex Karpin

1988 – Margaret Ackland, Shay Docking

1987 – Christine Hiller, Self Portrait

1986 – Christine Hiller, Self Portrait

1985 – Gwen Eichler, Dianne Fogwell

1984 – Margaret Woodward, Madeleine Halliday

1983 – Margaret Woodward, Self Portrait

1982 – Brenda Humble, Virginia Hall

1981 – Susan Howard, Jenny Kee

1980 – Judy Pennefather, Venie Schulenberg

1979 – Ivy Shore, Kondelea (Della) Elliott

1978 – Dora Toovey, Senator Neville Bonner

1977 – Ena Joyce, George Lawrence

1976 – Jocelyn Maughan, George Bouckley

1975 – Mary Brady, Elizabeth Rooney

1974 – Lesley H Pockley, Hugh Paget

1973 – Sylvia Tiarks, Self Portrait

1972 – Elisabeth Cummings, Jean Appleton

1971 – Mary Brady, Larry Sitsky

1970 – Dora Toovey, Self Portrait in Landscape

1969 – Vaike Liibus, Guy Warren

1968 – Bettina McMahon, Self Portrait

1967 – Jo Caddy, Laurence Davis

1966 – Mary Brady, Grahame Edgar

1965 – Jean Appleton, Self Portrait

Award Administrator 


Award Trustee