Abbotsford Convent receives highest heritage recognition in Australia
The Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Melbourne, Australia were honoured on 31 August 2017 when Abbotsford Convent was officially added to Australia’s National Heritage List by the Minister for the Environment and Energy, The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP.
This was a momentous occasion for Good Shepherd. The listing includes the Abbotsford Convent, Good Shepherd Chapel and Collingwood Children’s Farm. It protects the precinct for generations to come - and gives it national significance alongside iconic places in Australia such Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef.
The Abbotsford Convent was built by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in 1863, in one of Melbourne’s poorest areas, to provide shelter, food and education for young girls and women who had limited options in life.
By the start of the 1900s, the Convent had become the largest charitable institution in the southern hemisphere and played a strong social welfare role in Australia.
It became home to thousands of girls and women, often not of their choosing, and resonates with memories, good and bad, for all who were part of life at the Convent.
The experiences of the Sisters, women, children and families who have a connection with Abbotsford Convent are respected. The dedication of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd to build such a thriving precinct that could serve the community was well acknowledged and appreciated.
Today the Abbotsford Convent is a not-for-profit arts, cultural and learning precinct owned and operated by the Abbotsford Convent Foundation. It is home to more than 100 arts and creative practitioners.
And the Good Shepherd Chapel continues as a vibrant place open to all.
The Abbotsford Convent shares place and history with the First Peoples of this land, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation.
L-R: Victoria Marles, Chair, Abbotsford Convent Foundation; The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP; Sr Monica Walsh, Province Leader, Sisters of the Good Shepherd; Sr Anne Dalton, Good Shepherd Sister; Dimity Fifer, CEO, Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand; Collette Brennan, CEO, Abbotsford Convent Foundation.