Built in 1871 by the Good Shepherd Sisters, the Chapel has enormous historic significance for Victoria.
In 1863, four Good Shepherd Sisters sailed from France to Melbourne to provide support and safe housing for women and girls experiencing hardship and exclusion.
The Sisters found a suitable site in Abbotsford. The Abbotsford Convent was officially opened on 25 August 1863 and the Good Shepherd community began to grow.
By 1869 it was recognised that a church was needed to accommodate the large community of Sisters and all the women and girls living at the Convent.
Originally known as the Church of the Immaculate Conception, the Chapel was designed by Mr Thomas A Kelly, modelled on the mother house of the Good Shepherd Sisters in Angers, France. The foundation stone was laid in 1870 and the building was officially opened on 30 April 1871. It is the second oldest building in the Abbotsford Convent precinct.
The Chapel closed in 2010 for extensive renovations, and reopened in 2012. The Sisters wanted to ensure the Chapel could continue to connect with and serve the local community, and the restorations were done with this in mind. The Chapel’s remaining original features were lovingly restored, and local materials were used in all aspects of the restoration wherever possible.
The Good Shepherd Chapel restoration project has won the following awards for heritage restoration.
Today, the Chapel still belongs to the Good Shepherd Sisters and is managed by Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand. It continues to provide a peaceful, contemplative space for everyone in the community to enjoy.