Julia Gillard 2006 Robin Sellick (b. 1967) 
 <i>Photo: Supplied by National Portrait Gallery Courtesy of Robin Sellick </i> Click for more photos

First ladies: Significant Australian women 1913–2013

Julia Gillard 2006 Robin Sellick (b. 1967) Photo: Supplied by National Portrait Gallery Courtesy of Robin Sellick

  • Julia Gillard 2006 Robin Sellick (b. 1967) 
 <i>Photo: Supplied by National Portrait Gallery Courtesy of Robin Sellick </i>
  • Nicole Kidman 2002
Karin Catt
type C photograph
Purchased 2005 <i> Photo: Supplied by National Portrait Gallery </i>
  • Quentin Bryce 2000
Lorrie Graham (b. 1954)
gelatin silver photograph
Purchased 2011 <i>Photo: Supplied by National Portrait  Gallery </i>
  • Self portrait 1934
Nora Heysen (1911-2003)
oil on canvas
Purchased 1999  <i>Photo: Supplied by National Portrait  Gallery </i>
  • Margaret Court 1962
Sir William Dargie (1912-2003)
oil on canvas
Private collection  <i>Photo: Supplied by National Portrait Gallery </i>
  • Marcia Langton 1982
Juno Gemes (b. 1944)
gelatin silver photograph
Purchased 2004  <i>Photo: Supplied by National Portrait Gallery</i>
  • June Dally Watkins 1949 (printed 2008)
Max Dupain (1911-1992)
gelatin silver photograph
Purchased 2008  <i>Photo: Supplied by National Portrait Gallery </i>
  • Ita Buttrose 1981
John Williams (b. 1933)
photomontage
Purchased 1999  <i>Photo: Supplied by National Portrait  Gallery </i>
  • Great Suffragette Demonstration in London (Vida Goldstein) 1911
Rose Stereograph Company (active 1890-c. 1970)
stereo view gelatin silver photograph
Purchased 2011  <i>Photo: Supplied by National Portrait  Gallery </i>
  • Evonne Goolagong 1973
Ern McQuillan (b. 1926)
gelatin silver photograph
Purchased with funds provided by L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2004  <i>Photo: Supplied by National Portrait Gallery </i>

A noticeably more relaxed image of Prime Minister Julia Gillard, hair flicked up, sans glasses and seated in front of a luridly coloured purple shed, taken by photographer Robin Sellick in 2006, will be unveiled in an exhibition of powerful women by the National Portrait Gallery tomorrow.

It is a remarkable contrast to the determined, face set Prime Minister who yesterday announced an election for September, lips pursed.

The stripey business shirt has been replaced, but the black jacket is still there, a long time staple of Ms Gillard's wardrobe.

No glasses in sight - contacts maybe.

It will be displayed as part of the exhibition First ladies: Significant Australian women 1913–2013.

The portrait was taken in what was arguably an easier time for Ms Gillard.

In 2006 she was in Opposition and about to be made deputy prime minister on the heels of the successful Kevin 07 federal election campaign.

The picture has been borrowed from Sellick's own private collection because the gallery has a policy against collecting portraits of sitting prime ministers.

The gallery has made a special exception and borrowed the portrait so Ms Gillard could in the centenary exhibition which will be on display for the first half of the year.

The exhibition includes a range of both riveting and familiar images of some of Australia's most admired female athletes, actors and cultural leaders.

A portrait of movie starlet Nicole Kidman will sit alongside others including a black and white image of Governor General Quentin Bryce and a photograph of a young etiquette queen June Dally Watkins - taken in 1949.

Director of the the National Portrait Gallery Louise Doyle said the timing was just right for such an exhibition.

"The launch of this exhibition coincides with Centenary's theme for February: Women and Sport," she said.

"Amongst the suffragettes, scientists and politicians, also represented in First Ladies are artists, sprinters and serve-volleyers."

The exhibition will be officially launched by leading businesswoman Imelda Roche tomorrow at 11.30am.