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Stuart Kells

Jan 5, 2021

The Convent

A City Finds Its Heart

Miegunyah Press 2020

Nuns, inmates, community vs corporation, Australia, oasis in a metropolis.

The Abbotsford Convent left to languish for years after the last of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd had gone. In its prime it had been a school, a refuge, a retreat, a workhouse and a prison-the single largest charitable institution in the southern hemisphere.

In the late 1990s a proposed high-density development threatened the idyllic riverside location, sparking outrage in the local community and further afield. Years of protesting, negotiating and fundraising followed and the convent, now on Australia's National Heritage List, has started a new life as a vibrant centre for art and culture.

The Convent: A City Finds Its Heart (Miegunyah Press, 2020) tells the story of the site's rich history and the efforts to preserve it. It is an uplifting tale of community activism-a tangible reminder that the magic of the past can endure and what people-power can achieve.

Stuart Kells, Adjunct Professor, La Trobe Business School, La Trobe University in Melbourne. His other roles include Research Fellow at Melbourne University’s Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, member of Monash University’s Centre for Regulatory Studies, roles in the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office, and as an economist at accountancy firms PPB Advisory and KPMG. In addition, and maybe most pleasingly for us readers, Stuart is an accomplished and prized author of several genres: social history; science; literary history; economic and business history, and recently fiction.

Bede Haines is a solicitor, specialising in litigation and a partner at Holding Redlich, an Australian commercial law firm. He lives in Sydney, Australia. Known to read books, ride bikes and eat cereal (often). bede.haines@holdingredlich.com

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Bede Haines

Bede Haines is a solicitor, specialising in litigation and a partner at Holding Redlich, an Australian commercial law firm. He lives in Sydney, Australia. Known to read books, ride bikes and eat cereal (often). bede.haines@holdingredlich.com

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