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Weekend Wandering – Abbotsford Convent

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On Thursday was another Social Snappers excursion, this time we went to Abbotsford Convent, an old place that was once the home of the nuns that belonged to the Order of the Good Shepherd. It is quite an amazing place.  The nuns sold it in 1975, and today it is more an art precinct, with many artists having studios there.  It is nice to have a place that you can just wander around.

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The buildings are much what you would expect a convent to be.  They are large, but they aren’t grand.  Of course they are beautiful, but they don’t have the ornate details that buildings of this size would often have.

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“If the walls could talk?” It must have been an incredible place at one time.  It is a very busy place now.

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There are some amazing out buildings, and if you are going to go there, then you have to walk around the outbuildings as well.  This one is quite popular and a lot of people have their wedding photos taken in front of this one.

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I had been there before, but not for many years.  The last time I was there to take photos I was using a compact camera and the photos I got were not very good.  I am much happier with the images I got this week.  I also don’t remember how the gardens were, which could just mean that I didn’t pay attention.  This time we were pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful garden and many flowers blooming in them.

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We chased this butterfly around everywhere.  It didn’t stay still for long. We finally got it on a plant and it just stayed for a while. I got out the Tamron 90mm macro lens and had fun taking photos of the flowers in the garden.  I really do enjoy using the macro lens.

I have a gallery of images for you now. We had a great time at Abbotsford Convent, and I could happily go back there another time. I would like to explore the inside more, the public spaces.  I love buildings with lots of history.  I am going to have to go and do some research now.

On a side note, before the gallery, my daughter got her license yesterday.  She said she will still go out with me to take photos, I hope she does.  We need to plan another trip.  What are you planning this weekend?

 

 

101 Comments
  1. justanothergirl #

    I would have joined that convent if I could’ve back in those days. Beautiful pics!

    October 25, 2014
    • Really, not sure I could have handled the strict life. This place was somewhere for women to go, not just nuns, but women with no where else, or were considered social outcasts. Not quite sure the whole story, but would love to find out.

      October 25, 2014
      • Paul's Pictures #

        Leanne…great!!! if you go to the church they have a series of short videos you can watch..pretty sad place on the whole…we go to Lentil as Anything there a lot…even have some of photos as this lot lol

        October 25, 2014
      • Thank you Paul. I saw the church but wasn’t sure if you could go in, but will definitely look next time. It is hard to know how sad it was, I like the idea that women had somewhere to go, but it would have been a tough life, I don’t know. Better than the streets maybe. There is nothing now. My husband and girls go to Lentil as Anything a lot, especially the girls, they love it.

        October 25, 2014
  2. A gorgeous building, wonder why it was sold. Money I suppose. Great photos as always. 🙂

    October 25, 2014
    • I don’t know John, many of the convents here were sold, there is one near us that was a convent and is not a retirement home. Thanks John. 😀

      October 25, 2014
  3. Wonderful capture !

    October 25, 2014
  4. Lovely atmospheric photographs!

    October 25, 2014
    • Thank you, I think I might have got a bit carried away, so I am glad you liked the results.

      October 25, 2014
  5. Great shots! If places could talk… these spots would have a lot to tell of their past! 🙂

    October 25, 2014
    • I agree Thomas, the stories they could tell. Thank you.

      October 25, 2014
  6. Beautiful wandering

    October 25, 2014
  7. JF #

    Wonderful walk with you! Thank you, Leanne!

    October 25, 2014
    • Thank you JF, glad you enjoyed it.

      October 25, 2014
  8. Oh My, these are so nice! Thank you for sharing so many photos today. It looks like a place with many stories as you eluded to. I have a number of favorites! The lone tree in the courtyard (the first image in your post) is so interesting, the hallway from floor to ceiling is just lovely and the gorgeous purple flower with the touch of light…I love that! So are you still borrowing the macro lens? Or did you decide to purchase the Tamron lens for your upcoming project? That butterfly is gorgeous too!!

    October 25, 2014
    • Thank you Carrie, I love your favourites too. Yes, still borrowing the macro lens. I won’t get the money for the lens until the end of November, though the grant was to get a Nikon, the 105mm, so I will probably go with that, though, the Tamron is a great lens.

      October 25, 2014
  9. Lovely photos, you certainly saw more of the place then I did when visiting the market. Karen

    October 25, 2014
    • Thanks Karen, I used to go to that market, but I always found myself wandering around to see what else I could find there.

      October 25, 2014
  10. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez #

    I love them all but especially the floor perspective shot. 🙂

    October 25, 2014
    • Thank you Jackie, that was really cool the floor one, the others went for it as well. 😀

      October 25, 2014
  11. Amazing pictures. I greatly enjoyed them 🙂

    October 25, 2014
    • That is fantastic, thank you.

      October 25, 2014
  12. Also, I absolutely love butterflies so that picture is my favorite 😉

    October 25, 2014
    • That was the hardest photo to get, so I am glad you liked it. Thank you. 😀

      October 25, 2014
  13. This blog earned a Bean Pat as blog pick of the day. Check it out at: http://patbean.wordpress.com

    October 25, 2014
    • I did go and check it out Pat, thank you so much.

      October 25, 2014
  14. You certainly had good value for your day out.

    October 25, 2014
    • We certainly did, thank you.

      October 25, 2014
  15. Very glad to see the buildings reused – especially for artists…for me the weekend brings me putting the final touches on everything for the following Sunday…enjoy!

    October 25, 2014
    • It was a close call, I think developers had their eyes on it, but a community sprang up to keep it for the community, I love it when that happens.
      How exciting, I can’t wait to see photos. Good luck with it all.

      October 25, 2014
  16. Christine wilson #

    Very nice shots Leanne I was there a few weeks ago

    October 25, 2014
    • Brilliant Christine, I haven’t been there for years, I couldn’t believe how busy it was. Thank you.

      October 25, 2014
  17. Becky Field, Artist #

    Amazing again….. Wonderful xx

    October 25, 2014
  18. I really adore your architecture photos. They are simply stunning.

    October 25, 2014
    • Thank you Laura, I think I might be a bit rusty though.

      October 25, 2014
      • I’ll take your rust any old day hehe

        October 26, 2014
      • Haha, you might not say that after you see what I put up today.

        October 26, 2014
      • Ut ohhhhh. Lol

        October 26, 2014
      • LOL

        October 26, 2014
  19. Hey. I just wanted to extend a hello to you, I noticed you’ve been following my blog for a while and liking my posts. What an honor! Your photos are absolutely exquisite! Do you do any post-processing?

    October 25, 2014
    • Hello back, and thank you, yes, I do do post processing, I do stuff in lightroom and photoshop cc, though these were all done in PSCC. I love post processing, sometimes the best part.

      October 25, 2014
  20. what a wonderful old building. It is similar to the Convent of St. Ann here done in the French architecture of the mid 1800’s. Great photos of it and the gardens!! After more than 100 years as a school it became part of the music conservatory but is now kept as a heritage site and rented out for various events. It took a lot of renovation to bring it up to earthquake standard. Your photos inspire me to go and get more photos of the place. I loved this post!

    October 25, 2014
    • I imagine there are similar buildings all over the place. That is great, I love places like this, I love the history of them, I love finding out about them and that history makes me want to get more acquainted with the building, if that makes any sense at all. Thank you.

      October 25, 2014
  21. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!

    October 25, 2014
  22. Thank you for these wonerful photos of the convent. My husband’s great-grandmother’s sister, Minnie Howell, was one of those women who lived there, but wasn’t a nun.

    She was born in South Melbourne (then known as Emerald Hill) in 1871. In 1897, Minnie was admitted the Sacred Heart Class, which was a Magdalen Aslylum run by the nuns. She would have had a very regimented lifestyle, full of supervison, prayer and hard work. The website (http://abbotsfordconvent.com.au/) says … “Many young women spent periods of their adolescence in Sacred Heart due to family circumstances, poverty or for acting outside social norms or the law. On admission to Sacred Heart the women (called ‘girls’ regardless of their age) were given new names (of saints) and uniforms.”

    Minnie was still called Minnie on her death certificate, and we don’t know the circumstances of her admission. She died at the Convent in 1957 and is buried in the Good Shepherd plot at Fawkner cemetery.

    Great photos, Leanne. Thanks for sharing.

    October 25, 2014
    • Wow Christine, what a story, I would love to know why she was there. Apparently not many pregnant women went there. There is a sign up near where the laundries were explaining them, I did take a photo, but didn’t put it up in the post, maybe I should have. I might put it up on my facebook page. I do love hearing the history of places. Have you ever tried to find the records? I wonder what happened to them.
      Thanks Christine, nothing exciting ever happened in my family.

      October 25, 2014
      • A cousin and I did search a lot of records. The Convent archivist couldn’t tell us more than the admission record, he wasn’t even sure if she still lived there when she died, but her death certificate confirmed that she was. It is possible that she was destitute, or perhaps a victim of crime.

        Leanne, I just thought to search the newspapers again on TROVE, and this time I found something. This girl mentioned is the right age …

        Geelong Advertiser, Tuesday 23 Feb 1897 page 4
        [article after a body was found in the bay, partially eaten by a shark, speculating about two missing females]
        … The first was Minnie Howell, a domestic servant, 26 years of age, who resided in service at 227, Lygon-street, Carlton. On the 13th inst. she disappeared from the house of her employer, and has not since been seen. After her disappearance a piece of cardboard was found in her room on which she had written a message intimating that “she was going to search for her false lover Jim prior to taking her life.” She was 5ft 3in in height, but a more matured woman than the one whose body has been found, and she was also dressed in a black aud white print costume…
        &
        the same day – The Argus (Melbourne) 23 Feb 1897, page 5
        … The young woman, Minnie Howell, who disappeared from Carlton to search for her false lover has completed her quest and returned to her friends. She is, therefore, removed from all connection with the mystery. …

        This lass obviously changed her mind about doing herself in. I wonder about the timing, our Minnie was admitted in October of the same year, eight months later. I wonder if it her. She probably lost her job, became even more depressed and ended up destitute, before turning to the nuns or being sent there. Something new for me to look into. Thanks Leanne.

        October 26, 2014
      • That is fantastic Christine, it has to be the same woman, don’t you think, how many Minnie Howell’s could there be living in Melbourne at that time. I think you might be right, she probably was sacked after taking off like that, her name may have been tainted too because she chased after a “false lover”. I want to know what a false lover is now. Please keep me updated, how exciting.

        October 26, 2014
      • There was another girl with the same name, about 8 years younger, lived in Melbourne, too. As well, there are two illigitimate children with a mother of that name, but since I’m too stingy to purchase the certificates, I do not know if she is the mother of either. I did buy a marriage which identified the bride as the other Minnie Howell and she could be the mother. A false lover would be one who enticed my lass into a relationship and then dumped her. In those days ‘lover’ was used a bit more loosely, it may have been platonic. Anyway, when I find out more, I’ll do a posting. It’s going to niggle away at me now, I’ll have to shell out. 🙂

        October 27, 2014
      • Can you get access to the certificates without having to purchase them? Have you tried that ancestry.com? We tried that and found nothing, it was useless, with my family and my husbands. Yes, if you do a posting, please send me a link, I don’t want to miss any of this. 😀

        October 27, 2014
    • I have a sub on ancestry, but they are no good for starting out unless someone else has already researched your family lines, and a fair bit of the information bandied about in ‘trees’ is wrong. It isn’t as easy as their ads claim. I find the site valuable for getting a few generations back, though. I’m happy to take a squiz into your line if you like – drop me an email – just your grandparents names can often be enough to get back to the mid 1800s in Australia or England. I love a challenge. 😀 (About the certificates, on thinking more on it, I have a feeling I might have tracked the children down later and identified them as the other Minnie’s kids, but my memory is a bit dodgy these days.) Sorry, I feel I’ve hijacked your post. 😀

      October 27, 2014
      • You haven’t hijacked it at all Christine, I have really enjoyed this. You sound like you love doing this sort of stuff. I will send you an email, though not sure how you would go. It really isn’t easy on that site, it is quite deceiving. Thanks Christine. 😀

        October 27, 2014
  23. The building images have a gothic feel to them. Great for Halloween. I just love your macros. 😍💕

    October 25, 2014
    • It does have that feel, I think a lot of catholic buildings have that same feel, don’t you think Raewyn. We don’t do Halloween here, but I know what you mean. Thank you.

      October 25, 2014
  24. These are beautiful! I love old architecture – so much history – makes you really think about what was.

    October 25, 2014
    • Thank you Debby, isn’t it fantastic, I love it too, I couldn’t agree, it really does make think.

      October 25, 2014
  25. What a great location to catch some really atmospheric shots Leanne. The first one tricked me a little…..I thought it looked so British….the light and the buildings…..but then I scrolled on. For a brief moment I thought you had come over on holiday 🙂
    I love these old buildings….even without all the usual embellishments they are just so pretty!

    October 25, 2014
    • It is a great location, and I can understand the confusion, we actually have so many buildings here that would fool you too, we have many english styled buildings.
      I love these buildings too and I love it when you can wander around them. Thank you.

      October 25, 2014
  26. The usual stunning pictures and such a variety! Love the low viewpoint down the corridor. On a social note have not done much on my site as we are in a mess! – New central heating system. new floor in the utility room and floor from front door to back ( not far!) and new kitchen!!

    October 25, 2014
    • Wow, looks like there is enough going on at your house, so can understand why you have been busy Diana, but also how exciting, I would love to do some things to our house. Thank you, such an amazing place to go and take photos.

      October 26, 2014
  27. Reblogged this on Tulsa Showcase of Homes.

    October 25, 2014
  28. Your architecture photos are amazing–I’m not even sure how I would go about taking shots like those. I am much more familiar with macro shots and your flower shots are gorgeous with such rich colors and interesting angles. Be careful when you get your macro lens, lest you be swallowed up in the world of tiny details.

    October 26, 2014
    • You just point the camera and click, LOL, sorry, I don’t really know what I do, I just see something and then photograph it, and I can understand why you would be more interested in the macro shots, I love yours. Yes, I will have to be careful, though going in close is not something that I am really good at doing, so it is going to be interesting to see what happens when I get my own lens. Thanks Mike.

      October 26, 2014
  29. I love the building shots… I don’t know what it is… but old buildings just all look like they got stories to tell…

    October 26, 2014
    • Oh, I totally agree, there is a sense of history about them, that is always interesting. Thank you.

      October 26, 2014
  30. Reblogged this on CopperLeaf Treasures and commented:
    This photographer captures not only the eye but the heart of one viewing one of her collections. Just as she has mine with this post. She brings it all to life with the stories she tells to go along with her photography. I love her posts because she wraps you in words. Thank you Leanne Cole for once again filling all of my senses from across the water!

    October 26, 2014
  31. I love your photography. Always have. I reblogged this post with the following comment: This photographer captures not only the eye but the heart of one viewing one of her collections. Just as she has mine with this post. She brings it all to life with the stories she tells to go along with her photography. I love her posts because she wraps you in words. Thank you Leanne Cole for once again filling all of my senses from across the water!

    October 26, 2014
    • Thank you so much for that, I really appreciate what you have said, I often wonder how people find what I write, whether I shouldn’t write, so it is good to know that what I say is acceptable. Thank you again.

      October 26, 2014
  32. Exquisite array of shots 🙂

    October 26, 2014
    • Thank you Julie. 😀 Have you been there when you’ve been to Melbourne?

      October 26, 2014
      • No never! I never knew it existed. What a shame! In saying that .. Your pics are show casing it for me 🙂

        October 27, 2014
      • The next time you are in Melbourne, we will have to go and take a look at it. 😀

        October 27, 2014
      • Absolutely 😀

        October 29, 2014
      • 😀

        October 29, 2014
  33. Obviously all of your work is great and I’m sure everyone has their favorites. The convent is spectacular. There are good photos and photos I wish I could say that I had shot. One day. First I gotta get down south again – way down south,

    October 26, 2014
    • Oh I wouldn’t say obviously, I just don’t show the stuff that is crap, LOL. Thank you Julianne, I find the people that come out with me often imitate what I do. I know I have a friend who comes on the social snappers excursions and she will see me taking a photo, then she comes up to me and asks to see that I took, and then copies what I did if she likes what I got. It is funny, and I don’t mind at all.

      October 26, 2014
  34. Lovely photographs! Thank you so much for sharing. 😉

    October 26, 2014
    • You’re very welcome, and thank you too, 😀

      October 26, 2014
  35. poppytump #

    *Envious of this Social Snapper’s excursion Leanne …. taking photos of this convent all the while wondering about the lives those nuns had freely chosen and the circumstances under which other women would have found themselves here would have stirred the imagination somewhat . The story above which ChristineR has alludes is quite fascinating !
    Really like the details and mood you’ve brought out of it all .
    The last photo had me wondering whether if was a burial ground there …

    October 27, 2014
    • That is exactly how it was Poppytump, we talked about the building, taking photos and we wondered about the history. The story from ChristineR was fascinating, I love hearing real stories about places, makes the places seem more real.
      Thank you so much, I loved taking photos there. The last photo was just out the back, not a burial ground, they must have had one, but I don’t know where.

      October 27, 2014
  36. Leanne, I’m such a non-geek when it comes to using the computer’s features. May I ask how you get photographs to post next to each other in random sizes like this?

    October 27, 2014
    • It is a feature of WP, When you go to the add media section, it says there, “create gallery”, you click on that, then you select the images you want, press “create a new gallery” down the bottom right, on the next page that comes up, it you will see a drop down menu that has thumbnail grid, if you click on that, go to tiled mosaic, and it will put the images like mine in a post. I hope you can follow that. Thanks.

      October 27, 2014
      • Thank you so much, Leanne, for those helpful instructions! I knew from past experience that it was just a matter of clicking here and there to get the right sequence; it always is! Easy when you know how!

        October 27, 2014
      • Yes, always easy when you know how.

        October 27, 2014
  37. And I just used those instructions successfully for my first post on my new photo-blog! Thank you, Leanne, for taking the time to answer an amateur’s question. Your work is truly exquisite!

    October 27, 2014
    • That is fantastic, what is the photo-blog? You’re welcome, any time. Thank you.

      October 27, 2014
      • I’m at http://www.myspecialphotos.wordpress.com . My goal is to win some ribbon recognition at next year’s amateur county fair display!

        Thanks again!

        October 29, 2014
      • I saw your gallery, it looks good, and I hope you win that ribbon. fingers crossed.

        October 29, 2014
      • Thanks, Leanne! Your help and good wishes are so appreciated!

        October 29, 2014
      • 🙂 🙂

        October 29, 2014
  38. Congrats to your daughter! I especially love the architecture shots in this gallery. Wowza.

    October 28, 2014
    • Thanks Elen, she is very happy, and thanks, I do like doing architecture.

      October 28, 2014

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