Last year I saw a pamphlet containing this building and loved it, so, it was added to our bucket list. I love architecture like this and sadly, its not made any more!
New Norcia (pronounced ‘new nor-sia’) is in Western Australia, about 132 km (82 mi) north of Perth, and situated next to the banks of the Moore River. It’s the only monastic town in Australia.
On 1 March 1846, a Benedictine mission to the local native Aboriginals started about 8 km (5.0 mi) to the north, led by the two Spanish Benedictines, Rosendo Salvado and Joseph Serra. Within a year the mission was moved to where the town is today and on 1 March 1847, the foundation stone of the monastery was laid.
The place was named New Norcia, after Norcia in Italy, the birthplace of St Benedict. The town of New Norcia has buildings in a Spanish style of architecture, among these are the two old boarding schools, St Ildephonsus’ and St Gertrude’s (both now used for accommodation and various social functions), the Abbey Church (containing the tomb of Rosendo Salvado), an old mill, a wine press, a hotel and the monastery itself.
The Benedictine monks continue to occupy the monastery and are involved with most of the enterprises in the town. The last Spanish Benedictine monk of New Norcia died on 18 January 2010, aged 99. He continued to prepare the bread for the monks and olive oil almost upon his death.
An interesting place to visit, if ever you’re in the area!