The Back of the Great Hall at Montsalvat, Eltham, Vic

Christine Smith

Grovedale, Australia

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Artist's Description

FEATURED in South East Australia 07-08-2017
FEATURED in Old Farts of RedBubble 08-08-2019
FEATURED in Melbourne & Victoria 13-08-2017

Camera: Canon EOS 50D

Montsalvat, at Eltham on the edge of Melbourne was founded by artist, Justus Jörgensen and is Australia’s oldest artists’ colony and home to practicing 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. Justus Jörgensen, as a student of Max Meldrum, spent many happy hours painting in Eltham. 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. By 1938 work had started on the Great Hall. This mainly stone building includes two galleries, a studio and a large dining hall. 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. With the outbreak of World War Two, the collective energies at Montsalvat were redirected and Montsalvat became largely 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. In 1975 Montsalvat became a Charitable Trust with Jörgensen’s youngest son Sigmund as the chairman of the Trust and its administrator. In 1989 the work at Montsalvat was recognised by the Victorian Government when the property was placed on Heritage Victoria’s Register, soon followed by a classification by the National Trust of Victoria. Then in October 1998 the Australian Heritage Commission included Montsalvat on the Australian Register of National Estate.

Artwork Comments

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