“With remnant convent artifacts, brightly coloured lime-washed walls and bold art works, the Convent Gallery has a child like mystery and a bohemian spirit.”
Wondering what to do in Daylesford? The Convent Gallery in Daylesford is usually top of the list. Positioned high on the hill, the gallery sprawls over three levels. The building is steeped in history, showcases the work of a range of artists, has beautiful, award winning gardens and sculptures, and some of the best views of the area.
The History Of Daylesford’s Convent Gallery
The rooms within the convent Gallery tell a contemplative story. From 1891 to 1973, the building operated as the Holy Cross Convent and boarding school for girls and was run by the Presentation Sisters. The sisters were an enclosed order. While the building has undergone significant renovations since it was bought in 1988 and transformed into a gallery, many parts have been kept as they were.
Wandering through its floors, visitors continually experience glimpses of the building’s past. Tiny rooms that were the nun’s quarters remain. On the top floor a narrow infirmary, with original pale blue, chalky walls is a stark reminder of the basic creature comforts of its inhabitants.
Since it opened in 1991, the gallery has shown many local, national and international artists on its walls. There are over eight exhibition spaces with artists working in a variety of mediums, from contemporary to more traditional. Examples include artists working with acrylic, digital and photographic elements, oils, enamel spray, charcoal, found objects, even textas.
The contrast between bright, open spaces and maze-like corridors turns the visitor into a would-be explorer. Wandering through light-filled galleries, up and down original, narrow timber staircases, visitors are treated to sculpture, ceramics and paintings.
Each space also provides a reminder of life in a nineteenth century-built convent – a surprising view over the garden, a stain glass window, a view across a rooftop or a side wing of the building, a bed or a candle. One of the best views is from the bell tower, providing 180 degree views across Daylesford and the surrounding hills.
Bad Habits Cafe
What a great name. The Bad Habits cafe is set within a striking turquoise, palm filled atrium. Visitors will be tempted to spend more time within these walls and enjoy a late breakfast, coffee, or lunch.
The Convent Gallery also offers High Teas and The Altar Bar – a richly intimate space to share a drink or a cocktail.
Visitors will be rewarded with more art within the beautiful gardens surrounding the gallery. Each sculptural piece has been placed to delight and inspire the viewer and to blend into the garden setting. Sculptures are made from wood, rusty steel and mosaics. Like the inside gallery, the garden creates a sense of adventure and wonder for visitors.
When To Visit The Convent Gallery
For art and history lovers wanting to know what to do in Daylesford for a day, visiting the Convent Gallery is essential. The Convent Galley is located at the corner of Hill and Daly street, Daylesford and is open 10am to 4pm every day. There is a $5 entry fee. More information about current exhibitions can be found on the website.
Want To Know More About What To Do In Daylesford?
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Where To Find Accommodation
There are a range of accommodation choices in the area to suit all tastes. From romantic couples wanting absolute luxury to families and groups who are looking for a house and somewhere to cook food and enjoy quality time.
Hepburn Springs is the perfect place for those seeking some romantic solitude, but with the essentials in walking distance. Hepburn Spa Pavilions provides Hepburn Springs luxury accommodation next to the historic Hepburn Springs Bathhouse. Saffron and Horizon, double story, absolute luxury spa villa’s, provide two amazing hydro spas and fully self contained living to stay a weekend or a week.
Kookaburra Ridge, set on two acres of Italian gardens, provides more Hepburn Springs luxury accommodation for larger groups or those wanting a country house escape among roses, grape vines and olives.