The French Provincial, Gothic-style buildings blend picturesquely with the introduced and native trees and farm animals on the five hectares (12 acres) property. The mud brick and recycled building materials linked with Eltham were largely popularised by Montsalvat. And, through its teachings and community life, Montsalvat has continued to influence the many artists who have found a home in Eltham. It was named after the castle of the Knights of the Holy Grail in German mythology.
Since its beginnings in 1934-1935, Montsalvat has been the home of artists and intellectuals. For years on Saturday nights, artists, lawyers, politicians, poets and others, who shared a love for what Montsalvat stood for, gathered for a meal and stimulating discussion. The themes were the arts, literature, philosophy and general events. The focus for this gathering of talent was Justus Jorgensen, a man of vision and eccentricity. A strong talented personality like Jorgensen was needed to lead the dozen or so people who created Montsalvat, which is now  valued at three million dollars and visited by about 50,000 people each year.
Although Jorgensen died in 1975, his influence has not, thanks to the zeal of his son, Sigmund. The Saturday night dinners have gone but about twenty artists still live and work there. Teaching continues and Montsalvat, now largely owned by the Montsalvat Trust, has expanded its encouragement of the arts by holding dinners, concerts, poetry readings and exhibitions.
General Exemptions:General exemptions apply to all places and objects included in the Victorian Heritage Register (VHR). General exemptions have been designed to allow everyday activities, maintenance and changes to your property, which don’t harm its cultural heritage significance, to proceed without the need to obtain approvals under the Heritage Act 2017.Specific exemptions may also apply to your registered place or object. If applicable, these are listed below. Specific exemptions are tailored to the conservation and management needs of an individual registered place or object and set out works and activities that are exempt from the requirements of a permit. Specific exemptions prevail if they conflict with general exemptions. Find out more about heritage permit exemptions here.