How time flies. It’s been a week already since the retreat where we indulged four days of sublime art, outstanding food, good friendships and the most tranquil surroundings in Victoria at Amberley, located 20kms from Melbourne CBD. This incredible venue is surrounded by acres of bushland, gorgeous gardens and overlooking the Yarra River.
The original residence of Amberley was constructed to the express requirements and exact conditions dictated by the owner, Mr .W. Darch during 1929 - 1930. At the time he was the General Manager of Shell Australia which included Shell’s operations in NZ.
After Mr and Mrs Darch returned to England in 1934 the house was purchased by a second family, and the area underneath the lounge excavated and incorporated a dark room, table tennis and dancing area, bar, bedroom and bathroom for his elder son. At this time there was also an orchard, vegetable garden and poultry house. Also added were stables for the children’s ponies.
In 1955 the house was purchased by the Christian Brothers to be used as a Novitiate for their Victorian and Tasmanian novices. The Christian Brothers added a chapel, sleeping quarters, along with a library, and joined these to the original building following its general character and lines as far as possible. In 2004 it was again sold and renovated and is now a conference and spiritual retreat centre. And so we were the lucky recipients to experience the suburb peace and tranquillity of Amberley. A perfect setting to encourage creativity and inspiration.
The patio leading out from the dining hall overlooking the river and a stunning array of bushland. A perfect setting for our evening socialising, nibbles and champagne.
Pictured L-R: Robyn, Margaret, Kirsty, Christine, Marina.
My personal experience was one of immense gratification and pure pleasure. Catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. No time for sleep and the tutors, selected by our host and organizer, Bevlea Ross were incredible; Bernie Berlin, DJ Pettitt and Stephanie Lee. The knowledge gained was invaluable.
Some photos of Amberley.