Abbotsford Convent – Abbotsford, Australia - Atlas Obscura

Abbotsford Convent

Abbotsford, Australia

This 19th-century convent is now a flourishing 21st-century hub for art. 

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For over a hundred years, Abbotsford Convent housed Melbourne’s less fortunate women and children. Today, it sprawls across nearly 17 acres of land, looking like an image from the pages of a historical book.

But spend some time exploring the convent, and you’ll notice it now has a modern air. The buildings may make feel like you’ve stepped back in time, though they now house 21st-century attractions.

Art thrives within the century-old structures. You’ll encounter anything from a monthly farmer’s marker to the broadcasting of a city-wide classical radio station to the pay-as-you-feel cafe to the mural of inspiring sentiments spread across washroom walls. It’s as if Abbotsford Convent is a love child between two different worlds, both with the same mantra—be kind to others, and embrace the world around you. 

Know Before You Go

The convent is open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. No vehicles are permitted on the site, but there is a pay-to-park carpark across the street.

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