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New Norcia Benedictine Community
Great Northern Highway
New Norcia WA 6509

Getting There

Museum & Art Gallery

T: +61 8 9654 8056
E: museum@newnorcia.wa.edu.au

Group Accommodation & Education Centre

T: +61 8 9654 8018
E: groups@newnorcia.wa.edu.au

Media & Communications

T: +61 8 9654 8018
E: communications@newnorcia.wa.edu.au

Visit New Norcia

People visit New Norcia for many reasons; for spiritual retreat, to join a tour and see inside the magnificent buildings or sometimes just to walk around the town and enjoy the peace and beautiful scenery.

In this section you will find all the information you need for your visit to New Norcia. Details of places to eat and places to stay, details of the town tours and information about some of our favourite things to do in Australia’s only monastic town.

We recommend your first port of call is the Museum & Art Gallery to speak to one of the staff about all the attractions and experiences New Norcia has to offer. The Museum & Art Gallery is also a Visitor Information Centre and is the point from which the town tours leave.

Stay at New Norcia

There are so many different options for accommodation at New Norcia.

The Hotel, with its comfortable simple rooms, home cooked meals and neo-classical architecture is a perfect place for couple and families, its scenic deck and heritage veranda a perfect place to while away sunset with a New Norcia Abbey ale or a wine from the Abbey range. The Guesthouse is perfect for a quiet, retreat like experience, a world away from the rigours of modern life. You can join a Benedictine retreat here or be housed in the Hermitage for a silent retreat. Groups of 15 -100 can be accommodated in the Old Convent and the historic boarding school colleges.

Please click on the individual areas for more information.

Eat & Drink

Hospitality is a tenet of the Rule of St Benedict, the Rule by which the monks of New Norcia live, so wherever you choose to eat in town, our aim is for you to experience warm monastic hospitality.

Education & Research

From the earliest days of its foundation New Norcia has been focussed on education. The first Abbot, of New Norcia (Rosendo Salvado) established the Aboriginal girls and boys schools and the second Abbot of New Norcia, Fulgentius Torres built and opened the European girls and boys schools, which closed in 1991.

Since the closing of the schools, New Norcia's school buildings have been utilised for camps and groups and this section contains all the information you need if your group is interested in staying in one of the colleges or undertaking one of the education programmes.

However, New Norcia also has a tradition of research and academia, with its impressive archival records and library collection, and scholars and researchers alike have delighted over the years in the information available in the town's records.

This section also provides information on the archives and library and provides link to forms which will give you access to the records of New Norcia.

Protecting a Unique Heritage

New Norcia is Australia’s only monastic town and has a unique heritage. Founded in 1847 by Spanish Benedictine Monks, the town has had many purposes; a mission, a monastery, a provider of education and now as a place of spiritual retreat.

Delve into the town's unique history, discover the ongoing and completed work necessary for the upkeep and restoration of this special part of Australia.

But it is not only the majestic buildings set amongst the Australian bush that sets New Norcia apart; its history is also encapsulated in the archival records of New Norcia and in the library and museum collections.

In this section we also have information about how you can donate to New Norcia to help the Community restore and maintain this treasure.

What's Happening at New Norcia

We hold a diverse array of events throughout the year at New Norcia.

In 2017 we will be hosting the Studies Day, Library Lecture, a full programme of retreats, a Writers and Arts Festival and the education programme presented by the Institute for Benedictine Studies. The New Norcia Hotel is planning all manner of special nights, starting with a regular ribs and steak night and bands throughout the year... and our Museum and Art Gallery has started work on a array of different tours which will be revealed later in the year!

So watch this space for all the updated information about "What's on at New Norcia".

Thursday, 13th July 2017

An Interesting Find - A Boarders Stash c1949

An Interesting Find - A Boarders Stash c1949

The top floor of St Ildephonsus’ College was once the domain of male boarders, originally in vast dormitories, then as a succession of small alcoves and cubicles. The wooden floors and long spaces are now cleared, with progressive renovation of the college yet to reach the top floor. In April this year two New Norcia staff members happened to look into a large weathered crack between floor boards in the old dormitory and saw some papery ‘treasure’ beckoning. An addressed letter was retrieved that confirmed this was the discarded rubbish of a particular boarder in 1949! After lots of prodding and with the use of borrowed, long-handled kitchen tongs, this rubbishy stash emerged to tell something of the boarders’ life in the mid 20th century.

Obviously he, and subsequent boys who bedded down near this convenient crack in the floor boards, eschewed the use of rubbish bins. But even what is thrown away is precious in an historical sense and New Norcia has few letters or personal items related to the after-school activities of the St Ildephonsus’ College boys.

Not surprisingly the predominant items are sweets and food wrappers – MacRobinson’s chocolate with the adage ‘Remember:- Chocolate is Food!’, Nestles, Ace and Wrigley’s chewing gum, Allen’s ‘Irish Moss’ and WA brand Mills & Wares biscuits. The tracing-paper rustle of sardine tin packaging with their robust label ‘King Ragnar Sild Sardines, Norway’ and lots of Minties and Peppies wrappers, familiar but in an older style, jostled together in the space under the floor.

Amongst these gems are also the torn and screwed-up packets of a boarder’s toiletries, of Aspro, Dentifrice (a solid form of toothpaste) with half a cake intact, a Kolynos dental crème box, a group of soap boxes including the bright red cardboard of Lifebuoy, also Cashmere Bouquet and Palmolive, and a robust, used red toothbrush c1940s. A group of boarders’ lists that accompany these are in a florid hand, folded and blotted, listing such teenage necessities as ‘3 cakes of soap, 2 bottles of hair oil, 1 writing pad, 1 pen and nibs, 2 handballs, 1 tooth brush, razor blades, 1 catechism, 2 red leds (sic), 2 bottles of Indian ink, 1 compass, 4 torch batteries, 2 pairs of football laces...’ There are also 4 tags from the college where our student has scribed his name and “Please soul these shoes”, as boot making was undertaken at New Norcia, but it looks as though spelling was not!

Our young ‘Master’ has also discarded, crumbled and torn, vestiges of Physics exam papers, homework and marking, achieving 5/5 for a section of Physics and 27% for Latin translation. The initial find of a letter in its addressed and postmarked envelope has proved delightful, with chat between mates of school, farm and family, of cartoons and movies, the sign off accompanied by a crude sketch of a skull with a dagger through it. Perhaps the most poignant object is a tiny toy car fashioned from a pencil stub, complete with rolling wheels in rounds cut from pencils, whittled lead centre axels and the chiselled seat cavity and sharpened nose of pencil lead, a little metal blade inset as a foil; it still rolls.

Finally there are bus, tram and train tickets, from the Pioneer and Federal Bus Services, with a Boarder’s train leave pass issued by W.A.G.R., signed and dated 22.9.1949 by a S.I.C. staff member. The whole gamut of boarder experiences is represented in this unintended cache. Our question now is what happened to our 15 year old boarder Brian Davies from Burracoppin? I’m sure if Brian is still with us he would be bemused by the habits of his younger self as a boarder at St Ildephonsus’ College from 1947-1949 where his rubbish was never expected to be discovered. For New Norcia, it is a rare find.

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