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convent history 2

A Hunter Valley Icon

The Journey of The Convent

The Convent in Hunter Valley, originally a Brigidine nuns' home in Coonamble, has transformed into a luxury guesthouse and wedding venue. Built in 1909, it served as a school until 1980. Threatened with demolition, it was relocated and reassembled in the Hunter Valley by a team led by Peppers Guest House and interior designer Suzi O’Connor. The restoration maintained its colonial charm with modern amenities. Reopened in 1991, it now boasts 17 lavish rooms, French Provincial decor, and includes a winery and fine dining. A symbol of architectural preservation, The Convent blends historical significance with contemporary luxury.

The Convent, nestled in Hunter Valley, boasts a rich history dating back to 1909. Originally situated 500km northwest in Coonamble, it served as a residence for Irish-born Brigidine nuns. Invited by Bishop James Murray, the nuns established the first Brigidine Order school in Australia. The grand timber building, embodying colonial architecture, functioned as a boarding school until 1980. Despite its historical value, the building faced the threat of demolition in the mid-1980s. This period marked a turning point, as the structure's significance was recognized by architectural firm Crawfords Architects, sparking a movement to preserve this piece of history.

06.01.05.01.16 circa 1876 interior

The Convent's salvation came through a joint project led by Peppers Guest House owners Mike and Suzi O'Connor, media magnate James Fairfax, and restaurateurs Robert and Sally Molines. The complex task of relocating the building involved dismantling, numbering, and photographing each piece for accurate reassembly. The first floor was transported in large sections, requiring the reconstruction of bridges en route. The meticulous process ensured every intricate detail was preserved, maintaining the building's original essence. The reassembled Convent, now in the Hunter Valley, signified a remarkable feat of architectural conservation.

The Chapel External

Post-relocation, The Convent underwent a transformation under Suzi O’Connor's guidance, blending its historical charm with modern luxury. Reopened in 1991, it now offers 17 exquisitely designed rooms, showcasing French Provincial decor with elegant furnishings. The retreat includes a winery and the acclaimed Roberts Restaurant, offering a fine dining experience. The Convent's journey from a humble nuns' residence to a luxurious guesthouse and wedding venue illustrates a unique fusion of heritage and contemporary opulence, making it a cherished landmark in the Hunter Valley.

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