Abbotsford Convent is, if not already, fast becoming a Melbourne institution. From 1863 to 1975 it was managed by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd who provided shelter, food and work for disadvantaged women and girls. They cared for orphans, girls considered to be in moral danger and wards of the State. After the local community won the battle to not turn the site and buildings into apartments, it’s now a cultural and arts centre where artists, practitioners and creative organisations are leasing spaces. There’s a contemporary art space, a bar, regular markets, open days, venues for hire, a wellness centre, a cinema and festivals that continue to bring people to the Convent.
In part its very appeal is its imperfections – some parts of it are still closed or under construction. As more funds come to the Convent, more can be done. Sunday was an Open Day, so visitors could go through all the areas that normally are only accessible to the people that work there. I recently took over The Melbourne Walk and Shoot Group and this was my first outing. Everybody loved it! I enjoyed skulking around and finding all the interesting texures and layers.
You can have events here.
The dance hall.
Artworks by Pip Davey.
Check out her creations here.
This is Katheryn Leopoldseder, a contemporary jeweller and artist.
Check her out here.
Parts of this place feel like you’re in Europe.
sI may succeed
Perhaps one day I’ll succeed in occupying a space there!
Abbotsford Convent is located at 1 St Heliers Street Abbotsford.