Sunday, July 20, 2008

Art in Unexpected Places

Last time I was in Victoria, I visited the popular little town of Daylesford, about an hour north of Melbourne. That’s where I discovered this fabulous old convent. I spent hours here, wandering about marvelling at the architecture and wondering what life might have been like within its rabbits’ warren of spaces when it served as the Holy Cross Convent and Boarding School for Girls. Originally built as a private mansion in the 1860s, it was bought by the Catholic Church in the 1890s. It ceased life as a church facility in 1973 and was again purchased by a private owner – an artist - who converted it into a series of living and gallery spaces. It’s now open to the public and features several galleries, cafes, restaurant and bar, accommodation, reception rooms, gift shop and a gorgeous restored chapel. There’s even a religious museum in the basement (which was a little spooky) and, at the very top of the building, the nun’s infirmary has been left in its original state and now serves as a long thin gallery space that I loved – it reeked of history and past lives.

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