Australia's oldest art colony , Montsalvat , in Eltham , Victoria , founded by Justus Jorgensen, is the subject of this photographic study by Michael Johnson. A painter and architect , Jorgensen studied at the Melbourne National Gallery School in 1914 ; under Max Meldrum 1918-1924 ; Paris , London, Burgundy and Spain , 1924 to 1928.
Back in Australia in the l930s, he taught art and moved to Eltham where he started the artists' colony -painters, sculptors, musicians and crafts people- taking part in the construction of a group of buildings, known as Montsalvat, made from stone , iron and pise-de-terre .
By 1963 large studios and a two storey house in the style of a French chateau , with a swimming pool , had been built ; Montsalvat became a tourist attraction .
One of the founding members at Montsalvat was painter John Horatio Busst (1909-l971) , a close friend of Harold Holt , later Prime Minister of Australia , who disappeared while swimming . Busst , mentioned previously in this blog , led the campaign to protect the Great Barrier Reef and tropical rainforests from clearing , mining and drilling for oil on the reef , the battle continuing today , especially with Adani deciding to go ahead with its coalmine.
Another great North Queensland conservationist , Margaret Thorsborne ,who recently celebrated her 90th birthday at Cardwell, is seen here with a self portrait of Busst at his memorial .
Today Montsalvat, on 12 acres , continues as an art colony, has a restaurant , is available for weddings , and provides a range of entertainments.