Daylesford Convent – Daylesford, Australia - Atlas Obscura

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Daylesford Convent

Daylesford, Australia

This former convent has been reimagined as a community center for artists.  


This iconic building lies on the side of Wombat Hill, overlooking the picturesque town of Daylesford in Central Victoria. The history of this site initially goes back to the famous 1860s Gold Rush of Australia. In 1862 gold commissioner James Daly had a house built for him to overlook the area.

It was in the 1890s that the house was bought by the Catholic Church who transformed the site into what became the Daylesford Convent. In 1891, Archbishop Thomas Joseph Carr of Melbourne picked this site as a source of light and edification for the local community. In 1892, it officially opened to nuns and borders, and the Holy Cross Convent and boarding school for girls was opened. As the years went on, the parlor, dormitory, and music rooms were added alongside the old castle-like tower. 

It served as a convent for many years until the early 1970s, when the building began to fall into a state of disrepair requiring a large amount of upkeep. It was decided in 1973 to close the school. It was later turned into a community center before being purchased by local artist and ceramicist Tina Banitska. It was under her guidance that the site underwent a large amount of restoration. 

The building retains many of the historic, Victorian architectural features and gives fantastic views overlooking the Central Highlands of Victoria. Now, it is a site of a wide range of art galleries and exhibitions. Visitors can see the restored chapel, a museum about the history of the building, a wine bar, and other small galleries. 

Know Before You Go

The Daylesford Convent sits on Wombat Hill and there is a large area of trees and interesting plants to explore.

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June 27, 2022

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