Collection Online
oil on canvas
114.8 × 162.8 cm
Place/s of Execution
Melbourne, Victoria
Accession Number
Australian Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1956
© National Gallery of Victoria
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
Gallery location
Gallery 8
Level 2, NGV Australia
About the work

John Brack’s Collins Street, 5p.m. is considered to be both an iconic painting of peak-hour Melbourne and a social commentary on daily life in the 1950s. The painting depicts people emotionally closed down by the grind of daily work. The office workers are unaware of each other, despite their close proximity, suggesting a loss of individuality and a lack of social cohesion among the masses.

John Brack painted with sincerity from his experience of working in a city-based insurance company as a young man. To develop this painting, he used sketches made over many weeks while standing in a doorway in Collins Street between 4.45pm and 5.15pm when he observed streams of workers leaving the city after a day’s work.  He also referred to photographs of buildings in Collins Street and used his friend John Stephens as a model for the man wearing glasses closest to the left hand-side of the work.