What's On

Current Exhibitions

A SENSE of PLACE

The artist Greg Hansell's record of history now


The artist Greg Hansell is well known for his pastel paintings of Australia's built history, particularly in the Hawkesbury region, since the late 1980s.

He has been a Wynne Prize and Archibald finalist in over twenty exhibitions, as well as winning the Dobell Drawing prize in 2005.

In 2001, Greg Hansell was commissioned by the University to document the Female Orphan School on its Parramatta campus before it was renovated, from which 3 large pastels were produced.

In 2013, when both the East and West wings of the building were completed, he was commissioned again to produce 3 pastels of the completed building and these works are the centrepiece of this exhibition.

This exhibition also explores the broader arts practice of Greg Hansell, from his handmade pastels produced from rocks and clay, to the influence of other artists he has collected within his own personal art collection.

No.1 Study for large pastel No.1 Study for large pastel, Greg Hansell, 2013

Female Orphan School

Female Orphan School, Greg Hansell, 2014

Homage to Bricklayers Various

Homage to Bricklayers Various, Greg Hansell, 2014

The Second Flowering, Greg Hansell

The Second Flowering, Greg Hansell, 2014

Jacaranda and the Fruit Bat Flyover

Jacaranda and the Fruit Bat Flyover, Greg Hansell, 2014

Exhibition dates: 8 October 2016 - 20 January 2017

Opening hours: Thursday and Friday 10am to 4pm.

                              Saturday 14 January 11am - 4pm.

Admission: Free admission to the Female Orphan School and the A Sense of Place: The artist Greg Hansell's record of history now exhibition.

Location: The exhibition is presented in the Margaret Whitlam Galleries, in the historic Female Orphan School (Building EZ) on Western Sydney University's Parramatta South campus. Download a campus map for more information.


A Changing Australia: The time of Gough Whitlam

A Changing Australia exhibition images 

The Whitlam Institute's exhibition, A Changing Australia: The time of Gough Whitlam  explores the remarkable life and enduring legacy of one of Australia's most significant Prime Ministers – Gough Whitlam. Step back in time to explore the dynamic, influential and tumultuous years of the Whitlam Government through some of the key objects from the Whitlam Prime Ministerial collection.

  • Free admission
  • Our regular opening hours are Thursday and Friday, 10.00am - 4.00pm
  • East wing, Female Orphan School

Image: National Archives of Australia

A Changing Australia exhibition room 1

A Changing Australia exhibition room 2

For more upcoming events and exhibitions at the Whitlam Institute and Female Orphan School, download the What's On Female Orphan School brochure.


Previous Events

National Trust Heritage Festival 2015

Talk: Compassionate interventions: entering and leaving the Female Orphan School

As part of the National Trust Heritage Festival, historian Associate Professor Carol Liston from the University of Western Sydney explored some of the stories of those who ended up either in or out of the orphanage because of compassionate intervention.

The talk Compassionate Interventions: entering and leaving the Female Orphan School will be available for viewing shortly.

Lecture: Happy Birthday Triple J! 40 years of big sound and big impact

The Centre for Media History at Macquarie University and the Whitlam Institute within the University of Western Sydney, with the support of Triple J co-presented  a public forum on Monday 19 January 2015, with media and popular music historian Dr Liz Giuffre from the Centre for Media History at Macquarie University, to mark the 40th birthday of 2JJ. The talk is now available to watch below:


National Trust Heritage Festival 2014

The Whitlam Institute within the University of Western Sydney presented several events as part of the 2014 National Trust Heritage Festival. We filmed our two talks, which are now available to watch below:

Arrivals and Departures: The Journeys of the Female Orphan School Children

Historian Associate Professor Carol Liston from the University of Western Sydney tells the stories of how some children came to be at the Female Orphan School, and what became of them after they left.

The Journey to Restoration and Adaptive Reuse: The historic Female Orphan School

Heritage architect Megan Jones, Practice Director of Tanner Kibble Denton Architects discusses her experiences from stage one to completion of the Female Orphan School's progressive restoration.