“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


WARNING: This post comes with lots of photos....16 to be precise!
Which isn't bad really considering that during my visit to Monsalvat in Eltham, I actually took 40 in total.....without even trying.

Imagine my delight when a friend invited me to join her for a visit to Montsalvat.  It had been on my list of places to visit for quite a while, but for various reasons previously, I hadn't managed. 
So I was thrilled to finally appreciate this amazing place where inspiration permeates every pore of your being as you wander through the beautifully aging buildings.
From its beginnings in the middle of the 1930's it was a centre of creative activity and remains so to this day and is still ‘home’ to a number of artists, including painters, sculptors, instrument-makers and jewellery makers. Many live at Montsalvat, while others choose to visit in order to teach classes or workshops.

(The Meeting Pool restaurant)
Montsalvat was founded by Justus Jörgensen and is Australia’s oldest artists’ colony and home to practising artists. It remains to this day a working not-for-profit arts centre administered by a board. Set in 12 acres of established gardens, the historic buildings include charming mud brick cottages and the impressive Great Hall.
To read Justus's complete biography click here 

 (The Meeting Pool restaurant entrance)
In 1935 Jörgensen purchased land and with his friends commenced work on the buildings that became Montsalvat. The first buildings were two small ‘French Provincial’ style cottages where they could stay at weekends. One was referred to affectionately as 'Lil's House'. Lily was Jutus' wife.

(Entrance to The Barn Gallery)
During World War II Monsalvat become almost self-sufficient with a market garden, poultry farm and small dairy. Several more buildings were hastily built for the ‘farm’ - the dairy, barn, stables, silos and storehouses belong to this period.

There are gardens, steps, nooks, twists and turning paths to explore, whilst soaking up the creative energy which radiates from every aging stone and building. 
There always seems to be a surprise around the corner or at the top of a flight of stairs.

(The ornamental pool)
Jörgensen had the ability to make use of whatever material was at hand. The earth and stone from the excavations formed the walls, with other materials sourced from wreckers’ and builders’ yards across Melbourne.

 ( The Bluestone Chapel )
The Chapel was the last building to be completed before Justus Jorgensen died in 1975. Despite failing health, Justus taught himself to drive a small cubdozer in order to move bluestones to the building site. Completion of the chapel became his obsession as he made it known this was where he wanted to be buried. 

Montsalvat is a stunning location and has been used for photographic shoots from fashion shoots to a large-scale TV production. From the splendour of the Great Hall to the old-fashioned charm of the white mudbrick stables, there are many locations within the 12 acre property to choose from. 
Montsalvat is also the perfect setting for a romantic wedding.

Every path invites you to explore....

 ( The Great Hall)
This mainly stone building includes two galleries, a studio and a large dining hall.

An artists cottage with actual resident artist in situ...take a peek through the window....
Artists can reside at Monsalvat from 2 weeks up to 6 weeks and sometimes further. 

Jörgensen established Montsalvat as an arts colony and centre for creativity in all its forms. Montsalvat still fulfils this vision through its resident artist community and strong focus on events presentation and educational development. Whilst artists are encouraged to focus on their own work there are opportunities to come together within the Montsalvat community to share their inspiration, research and talent. 
Workshops are available...
Check out the website for futher details...click here

Some of the other stunning residents of Monsalvat...

(The whitebrick stable block)

I had a wonderful day and even though my friend wasn't happy that the sun didn't shine...I think Monsalvat shone enough without it!

One last photo just in case you're not into art or architecture....how about some rusty machinery?

 I hope you enjoyed your visit to Monsalvat. It's a magical place and one I know I'll revisit soon.
Have a great week...wherever you are :D


  1. Fantastic use of reclaimed materials. It gives the place an air of informality, despite the grandness of some of the buildings, and makes it look older than it really is.

    1. Exactly Mark...I was so surprised when I found out it was only created from 1935 onwards!

  2. Oh wow what a place, love all the nooks and crannies and paths to explore. Such character! Zo xx

    1. It was an amazing place to visit Zo.
      We had a lovely day even with no sunshine! ;D

  3. Wow! This is an amazing place. I attended an art retreat once at Mustang Island, here in Texas, and loved it. Monsalvat sounds and looks even better through your marvelous photographic tour. blessings!

    1. Hi Arnoldo,
      An artist retreat is a treat indeed. Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a great comment.
      I couldn't help but click away with the camera...there was just so much to capture.
      Have a great day ;D

  4. Wowness..more more pictures please! This was such a visual treat and feast for the eyes..magical ..enchanting..so very very beautiful! Thankyou for sharing this !!

    1. Wowness indeed...hehe...thank you so much Victoria :D
      I'm so thrilled that you enjoyed your visit with me. It's fantastic to receive your reaction to the post. I enjoyed blogging so much but I also love to photograph and share what I see, but that wouldn't be any fun without you out there to share it with.
      Thanks for popping by my place and I note your my latest follower ~ whoohoo ;D
      Have a great day and I look forward to chatting with you again soon.

  5. Hi Neesie,

    This place is absolutely stunning! You'll have to share more of your photos in another post. I love seeing the brick and cobblestone walkways - oh and the buildings made of rocks too. Just beautiful.

    By the way, I had an envelope waiting for me last night!!! I love every single one of them. Thank you so much!!!


    1. Morning Kay...or whatever time it is with you,
      It was a feast for the eyes I have to say...there was something to catch you're eye at ever turn. I think I'll have to go back and take my time because we were on a timescale...you know...lunch...meeting others...etc...etc.
      I'm so happy to hear everyone is enjoying seeing it too.
      Ahh...your prize arrived then...phewph!
      I glad that you like them...in the flesh as it were. I really enjoyed doing the whole 'giveaway' process. It was so much fun!
      Have a great day. :D

  6. Thank you for visiting and commenting in my blog. And thank you for the opportunity to know you and to know the amazing photos in your blog.

    1. Hi Irina,
      My pleasure....I enjoy blogging so much and can't imagine life without it ;D
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Have a great day!

  7. Oooooh this is an amazing place... I want to come!

    1. It is...I didn't take any internal photos because I wasn't sure I'd be allowed to, but if you look on their wedsite


      you can take a peek...it's an amazing place.
      Have a great day and thanks for popping by...it's always great to see you ;D

  8. I LOVE reading about places that other people have been. I hadn't heard of Monsalvat before and now I'm dying to go. Thanks so much for sharing your lovely photos!

    1. I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed your visit. It just wouldn't be the same posting places of interest if no-one came with me ;D
      I loved the place and will return soon I hope. Maybe in the spring so that I can see it when the sun shines.
      I have been so busy that I've not been to visit your place lately and for that I apologise...I'll get to you and see what you've been up to soon.
      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a lovely comment...much appreciated.
      Have a fantastic Friday and great weekend!

  9. Only 40 pictures-- that place us fabulous- I would have taken 400!!! Oh I love this tour-- there is a lot if history there!
    Love- totally love this!

    1. I know Vicki 40 wasn't such a lot, but if you saw what we packed into that visit...plus I wasn't supposed to be taking photos at that time, I was amazed that I did that many!
      I'll return again and probably take 4,000 because there's so much that catches your eye.
      I'll just go for a photographic shoot and see how it goes.
      Have a great week ~ enjoy whatever you get up to ;D


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