In 2009, in memory of New Norcia’s late Abbot, Fr Placid Spearritt, the Community established a scholarship that will bring a scholar to New Norcia each year to work on a specific project using the monastery’s archival material. The results of the research would then be made available to everyone interested in Australian history.

Research to date has seen the translation by Judith McGuinness and Peter Gilet of the letters of Théophile Bérengier, a monk of Solesmes, near Paris, and subsequently Salvado’s agent in France and his hitherto untranslated history of New Norcia, (translated by Peter Gilet and launched in 2014). Other collections of letters now transcribed and translated include those of Léandre Fonteinne (Peter Gilet, 2014) one of the very first monks to arrive with Salvado, and those of Canon Raffaele Martelli (by Dr Joshua Brown and Dr John Kinder), a close friend of Salvado's. This work was also published in 2014. Dr Stefano Girola, lecturer in the School of Theology (McAuley Campus) at the Australian Catholic University has also translated Salvado's 1883 and 1900 Reports to Propaganda Fide, released in 2015 and 2016 respectively. In 2017, the Committee will be launching Fr Román Rios’ previously unpublished 1924 History of New Norcia. Still to come are Dr Liz Conor’s work on the Salvado Memoirs engravings and the afore-mentioned Salvado – Bérengier correspondence.

Just recently, the Abbot and the Archives Research and Publications Committee were delighted to announce the APSMS scholars for 2018.The Committee had more applications this year than ever before, all of them very good and very worthwhile; it was an extremely difficult decision but, in the end, the Selection Committee decided upon Eugenia Schettino and Judy McGuinness as a team and Andrew Walton as the ones who best fulfilled the criteria laid down for the Abbot Placid Scholarship.

Judy McGuiness

Andrew Walton

Eugenia Schettino

Judy McGuinness and Eugenia Schettino are already well known to Archives having worked on the Salvado to Bérengier correspondence and, more recently, on the Santos Salvado letters which Santos wrote during his time at New Norcia between 1869 and 1879.The work that Judy and Eugenia did then comprise a discrete volume in that body of correspondence; this will now be followed by the transcription and translation of Santos’ correspondence for the period before he came to New Norcia.Both Judy and Eugenia are accomplished linguists and teachers; Judy in French and Spanish whilst Eugenia, a native Spanish speaker, is an accredited translator of many years’ standing.They have been awarded a joint scholarship to continue the work on the Santos correspondence.

Our other 2018 Scholar has been volunteering in Archives for some time and has been a regular visitor to New Norcia for many years.Andrew Walton is a physiotherapist, and was formerly head of the physiotherapy department at Bentley Hospital.Now semi-retired, he has spent the last year or so working on the extensive map collection which is principally from the Salvado era. The scholarship will allow him to complete this work and conduct further research into the history surrounding the maps as they are frequently mentioned in Salvado’s Diaries currently being translated by Dr Teresa De Castro and Fr David Barry.There are also many references to the maps in the correspondence of the period so the very comprehensive database that Andrew has drawn up will accommodate all these references, resulting in a very powerful research tool when completed.Andrew has also devised ways of photographing the maps and incorporating them into the database which has already proved most useful on more than one occasion.

Congratulations to Eugenia, Judy and Andrew– we wish them well in their research.The Abbot and the Archives Research and Publications Committee would also like to take this opportunity to thank once again all those benefactors who contributed so generously towards the Abbot Placid Spearritt Memorial Scholarship which has permitted us to “unlock the Archives” (to use Abbot Placid’s words). This has resulted in the publication of three books in 2014, Salvado’s 1883 Report to Propaganda Fide in 2015, and his 1900 Report last year. This year, we are publishing Fr Román Rios’ 1924 History of New Norcia, whilst the correspondence between Bishop Salvado and Théophile Bérengier which we hoped to publish last year should be available at next year’s Studies launch.

Peter Hocking


If you have any queries or require further information, please contact Fr David Barry at during July, or Peter Hocking, the Archivist, at from August onwards.