No longer a religious ground, the Abbotsford Convent in Collingwood, an inner city suburb of Melbourne, retains its name and today is home to artist studios where there is a thriving scene for the arts and culture. The Abbotsford Convent is the place to spend a perfectly lazy afternoon beginning with lunch or coffee at the cafe before sprawling on the gorgeous green lawn. Or, if you are up to it, simply pack a picnic basket along and head straight to the lawn and sprawl yourselves there while enjoying your homemade finger sandwiches and a glass of wine.
Named the Separation Tree, the above was planted in 1850 to commemorate the separation of Victoria and New South Wales into two separate states. The tree trunk is amazingly wide and when standing in front of the tree, it amusingly dwarfed me.
There is so much history and character that we noticed at the Abbotsford Convent as we completed our afternoon with a stroll along the grounds. While a large part of the remaining buildings have been converted to artists' studios as well as private event space rentals, some of the remaining buildings are unused and left vacant with the intricate and ornate ceilings left to age while showing signs of paint peeling. It only helped us imagine what life was like when the nuns lived there before they had to hand the land back to the government because they were unable to financially support the huge grounds.