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Abbotsford Convent

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Published September 14th 2010
Situated in the bend of Yarra River, Abbotsford Convent precinct is as breathtakingly beautiful as historic and artistic. It was formerly called the Convent of the Good Shepherd and to date it is the most important Catholic institutional complex in Victoria. It's a place where art, culture, history, learning, music, food and shopping – all come together.

Only 4 km from the CBD, the place is set across almost 7 hectares of land. The precinct houses 11 buildings - some of which are built in the medieval French ecclesiastic architectural style, heritage gardens and panoptic farmland – in a rural yet aesthetic setting. Apart from that, the Convent is also home to many artist studios, creative spaces for writers and designers, spaces for activities and rehearsals, exhibition galleries, function spaces, a school, a radio station, restaurants, cafes, bars and bakeries, et al.

The Convent Community comprises of artists, health practitioners, writers, music composers, artisans, potters, sculptors, jewellery makers, quilters, bookbinders, chocolate makers, bakers among others.

The c3 contemporary art space showcases the work of noted and emergent contemporary artists from various creative domains.

There are many independent health practitioners within the precinct who offer therapies like yoga, acupuncture, reflexology, massage, counselling, kinesiology, homeopathy, Ayurveda, Feldenkrais method, Alexander technique, Craniofascial therapy, focusing, Shiatsu, traditional Chinese medicine and more. This section of the precinct is rightly named Wellbeing - where the idea is heal the mind, body and spirit.

The Convent studios can be tenanted by artists who wish to engage in creative pursuits in a quiet and inspiring environment. The studios are available for lease by artists for a period of 12 to 24 months.

Within the Convent precinct, various spaces are available for hire for weddings, functions, filming, photography, exhibitions, meetings, conferences, rehearsals, workshops, events and festivals for big and small groups alike.

The Convent also holds many regular food, art and craft markets. There's Finders' Market for those who are interested in antiques and collectables; Supper Market for fashion, crafts and an enjoyable evening picnic; Shirt & Skirt Market for limited edition clothes and accessories from emerging designers; Slow Food Farmers' Market for farm-fresh, local and organic produce; Sunday Arts for unique creative works by Melbourne artists; Makers' Market to admire the skills of local artists.

But above all, the Abbotsford Convent is historic place – housing a closed order of Good Shepherd Sisters and many women under care, for over a century. To get an up-close feel of the history and heritage of the place, you can take a guided tour.

To check the calendar of events, click here. You can pick more visitor information and even download the precinct map from the website.

The Convent is open daily from 7:30am to 10pm and entry is free except between 8am – 1pm on the fourth Saturday of every month when the Slow Food Farmers' Market is held. But the ticket is cheap at a mere $2 charge.
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Why? To soak up some art, history and culture.
When: Any day between 7.30am - 10pm
Where: Abbotsford Convent Foundation, 1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford VIC 3067. MELWAYS Ref 44 G5
Cost: Nothing
Fantastic place, not many people have been here, I only recently had the pleasure of walking around this beautiful place. Very close to the Collingwood children's farm, which is well worth a visit too.
By janef - reader
Monday, 3rd of September @ 09:22 pm
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