Montsalvat, founded by Justus Jörgensen, is Australia’s oldest artists’ colony and home to practising 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.
A Brief History
Justus Jörgensen, as a student of Max Meldrum, spent many happy hours painting in Eltham. In 1935 Jörgensen purchased land and with his friends (see details of the Artistic Community here)
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.
A range of spaces are available to hire for artistic endeavours, weddings, business conferences and photography shoots. The Meeting Pool Restaurant is also an integral part of Montsalvat.
Dr Barry Jones AO Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Board member of Victorian Opera
The Board of Directors of Montsalvat Limited is comprised of nine people who are highly experienced in the arts and governance.
The Directors are:
Morag Fraser AM - Chair Chair of Australian Book Review, Former Chair of Melbourne Artists Festival and Miles Franklin judge
Phillip Adams AO Australian broadcaster, film producer, writer, and social commentator
Dr Catherine Dale CEO Ostara Australia, Board Member State Library of Victoria
John Howie Special Counsel with the Williams Winter Solicitors
Max Jörgensen Company Director, farmer and inventor/developer of ideas
Sigmund Jörgensen Arts and Heritage Advisor Montsalvat
Peter Moore Founder and CEO, Flyford Communications
Allan Willingham Heritage Architect
John Wiltshire Lecturer (La Trobe University) and writer
The artistic direction of Montsalvat is guided by its Arts Advisory Board which is comprised of:
• Rick Amor (artist, winner of the 2007 McClelland Sculpture Prize)
• Tony Gould (pianist/composer, winner of the 2009 Don Banks Music Award from the Australia Council)
• Rodney Hall (writer, 2-times Miles Franklin winner, former chair of the Australia Council)
• Sigmund Jörgensen (Montsalvat Ltd Director)
• Genevieve Lacey (recorder virtuoso and artistic director)
• Michael Shmith (‘The Age’ reviewer and leader writer)
• Peter Wegner (artist, winner of the 2006 Moran Portrait Prize)
Many of these buildings have now been extended and/or converted into studios and workshops and are being offered for use through our Artist In Residence Program which commences in Jan 2010. To find out more click here