The Floating Brothel M

A woman and man dressed in 17th century clothing converse on the street at close quarters
15 June
National Gallery of Australia (James Fairfax Theatre)
FREE (Bookings essential)
Dir: Mark Lewis, M, Australia, 2005, 55mins,

This event is part of Art Meets Film, a free program of film screenings presented in partnership by the National Gallery of Australia and National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. 

The Floating Brothel is a dramatised documentary based on the book of the same name by Siân Rees (Hodder, Sydney, 2001). It tells the story of the Lady Juliana, one of the ships of the Second Fleet. Three modern-day Australians discover stories of their ancestors as the film reveals the background of the female convicts who were on the ship, the nature of their crimes, the society in which they committed those crimes, the hardships and surprising benefits of their voyage to Australia, and their impact on a new society. 

Please note: this screening is at the National Gallery of Australia's James Fairfax Theatre and not in Arc Cinema


The Floating Brothel is screened in connection with the National Gallery of Australia exhibition A Century of Quilts at the National Gallery of Australia, on display from 16 March to 25 August 2024.  

A Century of Quilts features exceptional examples of 19th and early 20th century Australian quilts, including  (1841) created by the unidentified women of the convict ship, HMS Rajah. A rare opportunity to see a historically and artistically significant group of works, A Century of Quilts showcases an often-overlooked art form made almost exclusively by women.  

Simeran Maxwell (Associate Curator, Australian Art, National Gallery of Australia), the exhibition’s curator, will provide a brief introduction to A Century of Quilts, including The rajah quilt. Aidan Delaney (Creative Producer and Program Coordinator, National Film and Sound Archive of Australia) will introduce the film. 

The Floating Brothel is held in the NFSA collection. 

A Century of Quilts is on display until 25 August 2024.