~ Melbourne Rediscovered – Fairfield Pipe Bridge and Abbotsford Convent ~

We have just spent the last week in Melbourne visiting Laurence and Maddy again. Each time we go to Victoria we try and find somewhere we haven’t been before. Fairfield Pipe Bridge has been on my list for a while after seeing it on another blog, so if you follow My Camera and I you may have heard of this before.

From St Kilda where we were staying it was quite a trek to get there! A tram and bus and a good walk. Also Google Maps led us up the garden path much to my dismay as my dear husband kept saying it’s not this way. We finally found it and enjoyed a delicious lunch at the cafe there.

Fairfield Pipe Bridge

The original bridge was built in 1878 to carry water from Yan Yean Reservoir to Kew. The bridge was washed away in the floods of 1934. A new bridge was built close to the original site.

Fairfield Park Boathouse Cafe

Est – 1908
The verandah of the cafe

The notice above reads “Notice to Hired Help” – The Manager has the unfortunate duty of informing hired help that instant dismissal from this establishment will follow the disclosure, for whatever reason, of the chef’s tightly held Scone and other Recipes, which have a large following in the colonies.

Dress – Ladies may remove clothes consistent with charm
Gentlemen may remove clothing consistent with decency

This was such a cute cafe featuring many original features and we were fortunate enough to enjoy lunch outside as the weather was perfect.

As Anthony is a big walker he said let’s walk back to the City! There was no way I could do this but I said I would walk as far as I could. Walking further than I thought I was getting quite tired, so looked up Google maps to check where we were, there was a turning just up ahead and I decided to come off there and leave him to walk on his own. I also saw there was a convent that looked worth investigating.

I was so glad I did this as this place was amazing. I had a good walk around and there seemed to be something to see with every turn I took.

Abbotsford Convent

Abbotsford Convent is Australia’s largest multi-arts precinct and is home to many studios. They are filled with health practitioners, artists and designers. There are two schools, a radio station and beautiful gardens to wander around. Two cafes, a bar and a toyshop are also on the premises.


History of Abbotsford Convent

Founded by The Sisters of the Good Shepherd in 1863, Abbotsford Convent operated for more than 100 years through the social traumas caused by the gold rush boom and bust, the Great Depression and two world wars. Over the period of a century, thousands of girls and women were placed in care at the Convent, with many residing in the Convent’s Sacred Heart building, and labouring in the onsite Magdalen Laundry.

While the Convent had a positive impact for some women—many of whom were destitute and had nowhere else to go—and provided critically needed shelter, food and education in the absence of state care, the Convent was also a place of hardship and ordeal for some of the women, as was often the experience of those in institutionalised care. Source

I think most of us have read something about the history of the Magdalen Laundries and the horrific ordeals these young girls had to go through, so it was nice to see that this place was now full of positive vibes and helping young people to get on in life. It’s well worth a visit if you want to escape the city or have an extra day in your itinerary whilst in Melbourne.


  1. I think I have seen this before on Teresa’s blog (it looks familiar) but it’s still interesting to see it through your eyes and the convent was a real bonus! Looks like you found the perfect lunch spot too 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Looks like you had a perfect day for visiting Fairfield Pipe Bridge and for being outside. We love visiting bridges, but we haven’t come across one with a great restaurant next to it! It’s commendable that “they” have made the Abbotsford Convent into such a positive and upbeat place – its own village. I enjoyed the post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such an interesting day out Alison. I’d read about Abbotsford Convent before on Andy’s website who is a Melbourne based blogger but your’s provides additional detail making me want to add it to my Victoria itinerary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comments Marion. It’s not something I had heard about before so it was lucky I saw it by chance. Coincidentally BBC have a new drama soon about the horrors of a Magdalen laundry in Ireland

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your photos are proof that this place is worth a visit. I’m curious about the sign about removing clothes. I assume it pertains to swimming. I haven’t been to Melbourne; so this is a real discovery for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comments John
      The sign dates back to the good old days when there were regattas on the river .. a bit tongue in cheek!


Comments are closed.