For this event I decided to shot the gardens of a local artist community called Montsalvat. My favourite memories of Montsalvat are from attending the Jazz festivals that where held on the grounds.
The opening shot looks like it was shot in Europe, however as you look around you will see some Australian gum trees.
Montsalvat consists of a series of unique and distinctive buildings in the European style set in over 12 acres of parkland.
A short History
Justus Jorgensen, as a student of Max Meldrum, had spent many hours painting in the Eltham district. In 1934 he bought the land that now comprises Montsalvat and decided to build a small country cottage where he and his friends could stay at weekends. Being an artist he had little money but lots of friends and students who willingly helped him with both his building and dream.
By 1938 work had started on the most ambitious project at Montsalvat, the building that came to be known as the Great Hall. It was to be three storeyed, studio space above the gallery with a large dining room on the ground floor below where Jorgensen and his friends could meet, argue and enjoy each others company.
As a trained architect Jorgensen had the ability to utilise whatever material was at hand. The earth and stone from the excavations was to form the walls. Stones, bricks and timbers were collected, saved and recycled from the wreckers’ yards around Melbourne.
With the outbreak of war the collective energies at Montsalvat were turned to the war effort, some joined the troops while others helped to turn Montsalvat into a farming collective. Jorgensen used this opportunity to develop a new series of buildings for the farm - a dairy, stables, silos and storehouses were built in this period. These buildings have now been converted into studios and workshops.
Jorgensen’s eye for detail never faulted and no matter what function the building was to serve, it had always to fit into his aesthetic dream.
Architecturally Montsalvat has much in common with a simple French village in Provence a mix of rustic architectural styles amid 12 acres of garden.
Montsalvat is open seven days a week 9am to 5pm. I highly recommend visiting the site, to see the gardens, buildings and the artwork.