"Keeweechic's New Norcia" New Norcia by keeweechic
New Norcia Travel Guide: 68 reviews and 95 photos
New Norcia is a wonderful little town some 130 north east of Perth and is Australia's only privately-owned monastic town. It is so small, that if it wasn't for the fact of the beautiful architecture, you would also miss it as you drive through it. Originally founded in 1846 by Spanish Benedictine monks, it was a mission for the local Victoria Plains Aboriginal people in the hope that they could create a largely self-sufficient village based on agriculture and introduce Christianity. Dom Rosendo Salvado named the town after St Benedicts birthplace in Italy. Salvado was exiled from Spain when the government dissolved all religious communities in the country. By 1848 the mission had acquired more than 1000 acres of land where they had sheep and cattle grazing. During the 1860s and 70s the monks established a series of wells in the area and horses were introduced and bred. Silk was also produced. During this time there was an Abbey and Salvado was appointed Abbot. He had learned the language of the local Aborigines and was writing important anthropological pieces about the culture and language of the indigenous people. Around the monastery a village grew and was made up of a church, flour mill, schools, hostel and apiary.
Today New Norcia is one of Australia's best cultural heritage sites. The National Trust has classified two of the buildings and the whole town has been registered on the National Estate. The Benedictine monks are still the community and owners of the town and operate a very unique settlement. The town attracts thousands of visitors every year. The main business of the town of course is tourism but the most refreshing thing is that it is not touristy at all. There are no craft and tourist shop except for the Museum Shop which sells a diverse range of goods and gifts which have been made by the monks. Probably the only other place to buy anything is the Roadhouse.
(c) keeweechic 2001 - 2006 (copyright)
- Pros:Australia's only Monastic Town
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