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New Norcia Museum
Open daily 10.00am - 4.30pm November-July and 9.30am-5pm August-October. Closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Daily Town Tours; 11am and 1.30pm
The Museum and Art Gallery is New Norcia’s star attraction and is visited by tens of thousands of people annually. Established on its present site by Abbot Bernard Rooney in 1978, the Museum and Art Gallery was formerly St Joseph’s Aboriginal Girls’ Orphanage.
The Museum contains a fascinating array of artefacts that trace New Norcia’s time as an Aboriginal mission, a centre of extensive farming and as a place of education and culture. It tells the story of monks and lay people who have made a home in New Norcia throughout its history. These stories include those of the artist monk Fr Lesmes Lopez and the lay woodworker Juan Casellas, both of whose works now form an integral part of the fabric of the town, as well as the many Indigenous and European students who spent a portion of their youth here.
St Joseph’s Aboriginal Girls’ Exhibition
Through first-hand accounts of past students, video clips, display boards and artefacts, the St Joseph’s Aboriginal Girls’ Exhibition reflects the experiences of Aboriginal girls resident at the Orphanage at New Norcia.
Gardner Botanical Exhibition
The Gardner Botanical Exhibition features botanical artworks on paper – all of Western Australian plants – by WA’s first Government botanist, Charles A Gardner.
The Art Gallery
This is comprised principally of post-renaissance Italian and Spanish works which reflect the history of New Norcia. Many of these paintings were damaged when thieves cut them from their frames in 1986, though most have since been restored and many are currently on display. New Norcia’s founder, Bishop Salvado, selected works during trips to Europe, others were collected for him by agents.
Australian Contemporary Gallery
Since 1986, the community has collected well over 100 modern artworks on religious themes including paintings, sculpture and craft.
A number of the works are prize-winners from the Mandorla Prize for Religious Art. This art award organized by the Mandorla Centre for Inner Peace, seeks to support the development of religious art in Australia. Some of the winning work remains on display at the New Norcia Art Gallery. The Australian Contemporary Gallery includes modern artworks by distinguished Australian artists, some of whom have generously donated their works.
In 1999 it was confirmed that amongst New Norcia’s European paintings, there is one of unique importance – a cartoon from the workshop of Raphael, one of the great masters of the Renaissance.
The cartoon entitled, “Head of an Apostle” is part of a larger scene depicting the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It was commissioned by Pope Leo X in the 16th century along with a number of other preliminary works which were then woven into tapestries in Brussels. The tapestry “Descent of the Holy Spirit” currently hangs in the Capella Paolina in the Vatican.
Over its almost 60 years at New Norcia this painting has been given a number of unofficial titles: Study in Distemper and Head of St John the Baptist. This painting is the only one of its kind in Australia – either in public or private hands.
For more information please contact the Museum & Art Gallery on (08) 9654 8056 or at firstname.lastname@example.org