Abbotsford Convent

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About Us

About the Abbotsford Convent Foundation
The Abbotsford Convent Foundation (ACF) is a not-for-profit organisation that owns and operates the Abbotsford Convent on behalf of the public. Just 4 kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD, its 11 historic buildings, gardens and car park are spread over 6.8 hectares in a sweeping bend in the Yarra River and are surrounded by the Collingwood Children’s Farm and Yarra Bend Park. With a focus on creativity, culture and learning, the Convent is now home to over 100 artist studios and offices for small businesses, a radio station, four eateries, food and craft markets, two galleries, an extensive program of events, and venues for rehearsals, performances, classes, workshops and conferences.

About the Abbotsford Convent
The Abbotsford Convent site was established on part of the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people and was an important meeting point for the Wurundjeri and Kulin Nation peoples. In 1863, four nuns from the Good Shepherd Order arrived in Melbourne to establish a place where they could care for women. For over a century, the site was a Convent and at its peak, over 1,000 women and children lived behind its high walls.

In 1975 the nuns sold the site and the School of Early Childhood Development and the Lincoln Institute of Health Sciences and later La Trobe University used several of the buildings, leaving others locked up and derelict. Twenty years later, a major property developer won the tender to purchase the land and re-zone it to build apartments on. Fortunately a group of passionate local people swiftly organised a group that became known as the Abbotsford Convent Coalition. Together they led a massive community campaign for many years to win the site for the people. They finally ‘’won the war’’ in 2004 and the Abbotsford Convent Foundation was then formed to own and manage the Abbotsford Convent as a community asset, on behalf of the people, with a focus on arts, culture and learning.

The Abbotsford Convent is unique in Australia – as a destination, as an arts and cultural precinct and as a multi-faceted community. Everyone is welcome to share and enjoy it as green open space that is activated daily by its tenants and thousands of visitors.

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1 St Heliers St
Victoria 3067