The outer Melbourne suburb of Eltham sits at the entrance to the Yarra Valley. While its centre is densely populated, the heavily treed fringes remain semi-rural with the pockets of housing separated by scenic recreation areas.
The Eltham Heritage Trail takes you on a 4.8km circuit of the local landmarks including the Montsalvat Arts Complex. The complex sprang from an artists’ colony set up in 1934 in a small cottage by painter and student of Max Meldrum, Justis Jorgensen.
A start was made on Montsalvat's Great Hall three years later but in World War II the property was taken over as a farm collective.
Today Montsalvat is back in artistic hands and both art and music are celebrated by a succession of annual exhibitions and festivals, including a poetry festival and the popular jazz festival which is held in January.
Montsalvat's Great Hall, which boasts stunning Gothic windows rescued from the hammer when the Royal Insurance building in Collins Street was demolished, is open to the public.
Community art and craft also make up the bulk of items offered at the monthly market in the Arthur Street car park.