View from the Altar down the Nave of the Chapel of the Good Shepherd.

Good Shepherd Chapel and History Centre

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Thomas Kelly 1871, Robert Simeoni 2011

Description

The Abbotsford Convent was initially established by four Irish nuns, who came to Melbourne in 1863. They were members of Sisters of the Good Shepherd. In 1869, the Good Shepherd Sisters contracted Thomas Kelly as the architect to design their chapel. He based his drawings on the Good Shepherd Motherhouse in Angers, France. The foundation stone was laid in 1870 and construction was completed in 1871. Kelly also designed the Sacred Heart building at Abbotsford Convent.

In 2010 the Good Shepherd Sisters contracted architect Robert Simeoni to renovate and modernise the chapel. During the three-year renovations, the gravestone and tomb of Sister Carmel Curtin, who led Abbotsford Convent for 15 years from 1873, was uncovered. Other discoveries included black slate marble pillars and a hidden round stained-glass window behind the Altar which was originally gifted to the sisters by the architect Mr Kelly. In 2013 Robert Simeoni and his team won the National Architect Award for Heritage for his work on the Good Shepherd Chapel.

The Good Shepherd Chapel continues to be a cultural and spiritual centre. Mass is offered four times a week. The Chapel hosts weddings, baptisms, funerals, concerts, recitals and art exhibitions in the gallery.

What's On

Visit the historical Good Shepherd Chapel located within the Abbotsford Convent precinct. Our chapel has transformed over time to become a cherished community venue where people can gather, share, learn, enjoy, and reflect. It is a vibrant space well known for its historical significance and as a wonderful backdrop for special events, rich with character and ambience.

The History Centre provides a dynamic view of the Good Shepherd Sisters’ story, shares the diverse experiences of former residents and provides an overview of the nine institutional sites across Australia and New Zealand. The National Memorial to Former Residents is in the chapel garden.

Join us for a guided tour to learn more, or pick up a map of the chapel and Abbotsford Convent site for a self-guided tour. We will also have free music performances throughout the weekend.

Children's Activities

There will be an area for children set up in the side altar with colouring pages, colouring pencils and children’s picture story books.

Images: (1-4) Chapel of the Good Shepherd. Photos: courtesy of Good Shepherd Chapel.

Important Details

Time & Date

Saturday 27 July
Open access 10.30am-4.30pm
Tours run 11am + 2pm
Running for 30 minutes in groups of 20
No bookings required

Sunday 28 July
Open access 10.30am-4.30pm
Tour runs 11am
Running for 30 minutes in groups of 20

No bookings required. Tour group capacity is limited and operates on a first-come, first-served basis.

Meet inside the chapel at the altar for guided tours. Enter via the Memorial Garden, side entrance, within Abbotsford Convent grounds. 

ACCESSIBILITY

Partially wheelchair accessible, Accessible bathroom

Wheelchair access to the gallery and all gender bathroom via ramp from St Heliers street. The back hall and Sacred Heart mezzanine are not accessible by wheelchair.

Location

Abbotsford Convent Precinct, 1 St Heliers St, Abbotsford VIC 3067

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