Bushrangers, oddities, true crime and scandal come together in a new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 5 December 2015 to 28 February 2016.

Sideshow Alley: infamy, the macabre and the portrait explores the exploitation of convicts, criminals and the disreputable for public entertainment in Australia during the nineteenth century.

Featuring a sometimes disquieting selection of photos, drawings and other macabre objects, Sideshow Alley maps the various ways in which artists, photographers and entrepreneurs used portraits of Australian convicts and criminals – often after their deaths – to turn violence, scandal and misfortune unto a lucrative 'house of horrors' show.

Drawing extensively from the Portrait Gallery’s own collection, Sideshow Alley also includes fascinating, rarely seen objects from major public collections in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, as well as from those of the Old Melbourne Gaol, the University of Melbourne, the Victoria Police Museum, and the Justice & Police Museum, Sydney.

Sideshow Alley is at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra from  from Saturday 5 December 2015 to 28 February 2016.

Joe Byrne’s body displayed for photographers at Benalla police station. JW Lindt (1845-1926). Gelatin silver photograph. Pictures Collection, State Library Victoria. Gift of Mr Squire Morgan 1942.

Prison photograph of Ned Kelly by unknown photographer c.1873. National Museum of Australia.

Daniel Morgan, bushranger, shot at Pechelba [sic] Station, 9 April 1865. Henry Pohl (active 1863-1865). Albumen silver carte de visite. Pictures Collection, State Library Victoria.

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