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, and the second Saturday of each month, 11:00am – 4:00pm (Excluding long weekends and public holidays).
  • 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.


Upcoming Exhibitions

Still Point

"I think I've been taking two pulses… the pulse of the society around me, and my own pulse."

                Robert McFarlane

Robert McFarlane has been photographing Australia and Australians for over five decades. Still Point is an exhibition which showcases images from his extensive archive that define his style, exploring how he achieves the intimate and yet iconic portraiture for which he is known and allowing the audience to grasp his natural affinity for light. The exhibition also includes images never intended for publication; his little-known collection of landscape photos and intimate moments with friends and colleagues. 

Still Point allows us insight into not just Australia over the past 50 years, but the world, as we view individuals and moments captured by one of Australia's best documentary photographers.

2 February – 24 March 2017

Thursday and Friday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Saturday 11 February 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Saturday 11 March 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Free admission to the Female Orphan School and Margaret Whitlam Galleries.

Special Event

Still Point: In Conversation with Robert McFarlane

Join artist Robert McFarlane in conversation with Bronwyn Coulston, Curator of Still Point on Saturday. 11 February 2017 at 2:00 pm.

Register here for this free event.

Charles Perkins on the way home from University, 1963. Courtesy of the artist Robert McFarlane

Charles Perkins on the way home from University, 1963.

Courtesy of the artist Robert McFarlane

Rugby League for Juniors, Centennial Park, 1969. Courtesy of the artist Robert-McFarlane

Rugby League for Juniors, Centennial Park, 1969.

Courtesy of the artist Robert McFarlane

Boys Playing, Balmain, Sydney. Courtesy of the artist Robert McFarlane

Boys Playing, Balmain, Sydney.

Courtesy of the artist Robert McFarlane

Cherbourg Waterhole. Courtesy of the artist Robert McFarlane

Cherbourg Waterhole.

Courtesy of the artist Robert McFarlane

Adey Wilson on her wedding day, Adelaide c1963. Courtesy of the artist Robert McFarlane

Adey Wilson on her wedding day, Adelaide c1963.

Courtesy of the artist Robert McFarlane

Still Point is a touring exhibition from the Shoalhaven City Arts Centre & Regional Gallery.

Still Point exhibition logos 

This exhibition is presented in the Margaret Whitlam Galleries, in the historic Female Orphan School. Please click here for details on how to get to the Female Orphan School.


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.