Abbotsford Convent Talk: Restoration of Magdalen Laundry
Abbotsford Convent, Magdalen Laundry
1 St Heliers St, Abbotsford VIC 3067, Australia
Join Peter Williams OAM, Founding Director of Williams Boag Architects, for a discussion on the Abbotsford Convent’s most recent major restoration project. Built in the 1880s and laden with historical significance, the Convent’s Magdalen Laundry is thought to be amongst the few surviving and relatively intact examples of its type anywhere in the world. Over the period of a century, thousands of girls and women were placed in care at the Convent, with many residing in the Sacred Heart building and labouring in the Magdalen Laundry. Peter Williams will cover some of the history of the Laundry, the early design thinking behind the 2019 restoration project and the eventual outcome of these preliminary works.
Fully accessible, 16 years and above
Today an engine room of creativity and home to more than 150 artists, writers, thinkers, makers and creators, the Abbotsford Convent was once one of the largest Catholic complexes in Australia. Founded by The Sisters of the Good Shepherd in 1863, the Abbotsford Convent operated as a monastic site until 1975, providing refuge, education and shelter for thousands of women and girls, many of whom lived in the Sacred Heart building and worked in the Magdalen Laundry. Inscribed on the National Heritage List in 2017, the Convent is recognised for demonstrating Australia’s social and welfare history through the lens of a religious and charitable institution. The architectural style of the Convent’s 11 buildings range from French Gothic/Medieval and European Baroque Revival, to the utilitarian early colonial architecture of the original Industrial School. Most buildings were constructed between 1868 and 1908. Whilst the Convent is today a thriving arts and cultural precinct, the Convent’s Magdalen Laundry and asylum buildings are an important physical record for those Australians and their families known as the Forgotten Australians. This year the Laundry has been partly restored this and features in the Open House program for the first time.
Please note: Registration does not guarantee you an allocated spot. We encourage you to arrive early to avoid disappointment.
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