One day close to Christmas, we went for an adventure to New Norcia.
New Norcia is a unique town, only inhabited by about 10 monks, with a handful of people, some shop assistants and tour guides, who come into town on a daily basis. The monks produce their own olive oil, nut cakes, and bread, that sell in the shop. There is also a wide selection of touristy items, teatowels, autobiographies, gift cards, pottery and much more.
There is a museum documenting the history of the town as a monastery and a mission for Aboriginal children. Many of the Aboriginal children in the early days were taken from their families to be raised on missions with white people, but the first monk, Dom Salvado, encouraged the families to stay on the mission too.
There is an art gallery in New Norcia where you can get up close to the paintings, and they even have an original Raphael.
It is a very pretty place, peaceful. With beautiful architecture. The first monks to settle here came from Spain and brought building materials and labourers with them.
One of the monks painted these detailed scenes on the ceiling.
This organ was imported from Spain and they had to rebuild the end of this building to house it!
At one point, Queen Isabella of Spain was going to visit New Norcia, so they built this extravagant hotel for her, but unfortunately she became ill and died before she could make the trip. Now this building is a hotel for tourists.
This is the the monastery. There are guest lodgings in this building where you can live, eat and pray with the monks. They have six prayer sessions each day.
This is one of the original houses for the families of the aboriginal children. They have been lined, rendered and re-roofed to stop them falling apart.
New Norcia is now a gathering place for the aboriginal families whose ancestors lived here. There are regular cultural meetings, and an outdoor display of aboriginal paintings.
If you live in Perth or the surrounding areas, or are thinking of travelling to our part of the world, it is worth taking a trip to New Norcia some time. Be sure to book ahead for the 2 hour tour where the guide will tell you all about this curious place, its people, buildings and even the miracles that occurred here. Amazing stuff!