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The Abbotsford Convent

  • Museums
  • Abbotsford
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  1. A group of children and parents hanging out at Abbotsford Convent.
    Photograph: Casey Horsfield
  2. A family on the grounds of Abbotsford Convent.
    Photograph: Casey Horsfield
  3. exterior of Abbotsford Convent
    Photograph: Abbotsford Convent/Supplied

Time Out says

There are many reasons to visit Abbotsford Convent, but just a sit down in the gardens on a nice day is enough

Abbotsford Convent is hard to describe in just a few words. It’s an arts and culture precinct that brings together artist studios, writers, musicians, therapists, community organisations, local fashion labels, improv groups, a Steiner school, a community radio station and more. 

Collaboration and learning are key values at the precinct, which plays host to changing workshops on topics ranging from grief to gardening. This is alongside exhibitions, talks, book launches, performances and a farmers market every Saturday. While Lentil As Anything closed up in 2022, the convent is home to the popular hospitality venues Cam’s Kiosk, Convent Bakery and Kappaya.

The stable force that unites this large community is the breathtaking Abbotsford Convent grounds. Once under threat of demolition, the buildings and gardens were saved with a Heritage listing that recognised its rich history as a convent founded by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in 1863. This subsequently operated for over 100 years and thousands of girls and women were placed in care at the convent.

Written by
Sophie Berrill


1 St Heliers St
Nearby stations: Victoria Park
Opening hours:
Sun & Mon 7.30am-9.30pm; Tue-Sat 7.30am-10.30pm

What’s on

Abbotsford Convent Farmers Market

The grounds of Abbotsford Convent have long played host to a farmers market, which sadly closed down in February after 20 years of operation. Now, a different farmers market with a regional twist has swooped in to fill the gap. Prime your appetites and grab your wicker baskets, because the Abbotsford Regional Farmers Market has arrived. From 8am until 1pm on the second Saturday of each month, this sustainably focussed market will bring more than 45 stallholders to the Convent. Shop direct from Victorian farmers and producers showing off their finest fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, cheese, gourmet sausages, pastas and more. After something for dinner? Well you’re in luck, because Inner West Swedish Baker will be selling ready-to-eat meals. There’s also a horticulturist-run plant stall on-site for the green thumbs among us. If you want to bring some sustainable blooms into your home, there are Victorian grown flowers on offer as well. Regional Farmers Market is one of the most established market operators in the country, with roots dating back to 1999. Since starting with a single market, the network has grown to manage more than 300 stalls across Victoria. The market is also part of the Australian Ethical Food Group, which means that each stallholder is required to meet a criteria around increasing food security and advancing the role of women in the food industry.  Entry to the Regional Farmers Market is $2 and all proceeds go towards Abbotsford Convent. Find out more here

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