Abbotsford Convent Foundation

In 2004 the Abbotsford Convent Coalition fought to save the Convent from commercial redevelopment and won.  

This mighty movement was marked by the Coalition being handed the keys to the Convent by the Victorian Government, providing the community with a special place to celebrate arts, culture and learning.  


The story so far…

In 1997, a major property developer won the tender to purchase the land on which Abbotsford Convent was built. Upon viewing the plans, local residents were stunned to find a proposal of 289 apartments, including major construction of new buildings and the demolition of many heritage buildings. Five people met in a kitchen to discuss their dismay, and the Abbotsford Convent Coalition was formed. The idea was to transform the site into an arts, educational, cultural and tourist precinct for the community. With support from the public and attention from the media, they led a massive community campaign that lasted for seven years. 

In April of 2004, the Abbotsford Convent Coalition and the community finally won the fight to save the Convent. The State Government of Victoria gifted the site to the public, and the Abbotsford Convent Foundation was born as the custodian of the site to safeguard and manage it on behalf of the people.  

Abbotsford Convent remains a prominent pillar of curiosity and collaboration, meeting and meaning. The heart of a creative community. 


The Abbotsford Convent Foundation sincerely thanks the following individuals, corporate organisations and Trusts & Foundations for their generous support and commitment to the initial restoration work at the Abbotsford Convent once the site was saved in 2004. In particular, the community will be forever grateful to the Abbotsford Convent Coalition – the original passionate group of local residents who fought the seven-year community campaign to save the Convent site from residential development.

Abbotsford Convent Coalition
Anne Kantor AO
The Dara Foundation
Roger Allen AM
Joanna Baevski
John Calvert-Jones AM & Mrs Janet Calvert-Jones AO
Dame Elisabeth Murdoch AC DBE
Lady Southey
Victor Spitzer
Clemenger BBDO
Colliers International
Connell Wagner
Herbert Smith Freehills
Federal Green Corps Program
John Glossop
North Fitzroy Star
Rider Hunt
Simmonds Lumber Group
Sinclair Knight Mertz
Department of Treasury and Finance,
Community Support Fund
The Jack Brockhoff Foundation
The William Buckland Foundation
Colonial Foundation
Dyson Bequest
The Alfred Felton Bequest
Fouress Foundation
Margaret Lawrence Bequest –
as managed by Perpetual
Helen Macpherson Smith Trust
The Scobie & Claire Mackinnon Trust
The Myer Foundation
Sidney Myer Fund (as part of the 2009 Commemorative Grants Program)
The John T Reid Charitable Trusts
The Trust Company as trustee of the Fred P Archer Charitable Fund