Thursday, August 01, 2013


Not my photo - lifted from images
On Wednesday I posted a picture inviting readers to guess where it was taken - not some French scene but it was in the Melbourne inner suburbs - here's another photo I stole from the Internet of the same building.

As a young fella, I would look across Studley Park, Kew and see the Abbotsford Convent across the river Yarra. My Father grew up with his brother, sister and parents in the parklands. No, they weren't homeless. My grandfather was a Caretaker and this allowed him to live at the Caretaker's house within the extensive parklands of Studley Park. It had commanding views across the park to the Melbourne CBD which was not more than 4 kms away as the crow flies.
After my father married my mother, they moved into their own home and on the occasional weekend, I would spend time with my grandparents, John and Tillie. We had the biggest backyard to play in. 640 acres of natural bushland, parks and sporting fields to be exact.

In the upper right hand corner of this photo was where my grandparents home was situated prior to it being destroyed by fire. As a child, we discovered sections carved into the sloping banks that ran down to the river. My grandfather told me that they were shallow caves where native Australians lived before European settlement.
The Yarra River runs 12 kms through the parklands which are the largest so close to the Melbourne CBD.
The upper horseshoe bend houses the Abbotsford Convent while the other horseshoe bend of the river was where my grandparents home was located. The area that is to the left is full of little worker's cottages and laneways. Once the homes of the poor and the workers, today it is highly sought after by the Trendy who want to be close to the city.
As I walked to the Convent to keep my appointment, I could not help but feel that I was visiting some of the many places of religion in France. Maybe it was the Cloisters.
The Cloister at the Abbotsford Convent.
I think this is a painting by Australian artist Arthur Boyd of the Convent.
The hallways of the Convent are paved with tessellated tiles and you can smell the oak and cedar in the walls and stairways.

We've passed the depths of winter and signs of an early spring can be seen with blossom  on the trees of the Convent.
A very tranquil place indeed.
Spring might be a good time to take Sue to have a look at the Abbotsford Convent as my visit was all to brief due to the need to get back to the office.


  1. That certainly looks a place well worth visiting and looking around properly. A magnificent building.

    Now stop talking about your spring, we only started summer a couple of weeks ago!! :-)

    Keep well you two. Diane

    1. I know Diane - its really not been much of a summer for you lot in the Northern Hemisphere. I always have a smile on my face when the sent convicts from the hulks on the Thames to sunny Australia for the term of their natural life. Now that's a harsh punishment.

  2. Very lovely building and I like the painting very much.

    1. I was quite taken by it Craig - part of my job takes me to some interesting areas and buildings as it does you from what I've read in your posts. I was taken back a little about Boris. Very sad to hear that.

  3. Was the Abbotsford Convent just an ordinary convent for nuns? If so, they seemed to have spent a great deal of money making the architecture and gardens very beautiful. Could it have been used for additional, parish or state-wide purposes?

    1. Hels - now I thought you may be the one that knew so much more about the Convent, have you been there.
      Do you know that every time I do some post on history/architecture, I think - what will Hels say!!!!

  4. Spring already?!
    Lovely photos. Convents have the same ambience everywhere I think.

    1. But of course the ambience of French convents send their aura throughout the world.
      Thanks for the comment on the photos but it was just the iPhone at the time.


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