Thursday, 21st November 2019
New Norcia Studies 26 Launch
The 26th New Norcia Studies Journal was launched at the Palms Community Centre in Subiaco on Thursday November 7th. Now that Archives, Collections and Libraries are all part of the new department called ACL (Archives, Collections and Libraries – what else?), it was thought it would be a symbolic gesture to invite a luminary from this field to do the honours. Dr Kerry Smith (pictured above), former colleague of mine from Curtin Library School who went on to become Associate Professor and Head of School, was approached and we were delighted when she enthusiastically accepted the invitation. We were just as delighted that attendance on the night, at 115 guests, was the best we have ever seen at a launch.
Fr John and Mayor of Subiaco, Penny Taylor, welcomed our guests and introduced Freeman of the City, and former Mayor, Heather Henderson who spoke about the link between New Norcia and Subiaco. Heather was followed by Kerry whose summation of the books being launched was so good that sales that night were probably the best we have ever had too. Kerry did also speak about archives and libraries.
Carmel Murray, Jody Burness and Joyce McKee did a brisk trade in selling our three books to eager guests. The books launched were, of course, the 26th edition of the Studies Journal, and Emeritus Professor Bob Reece’s book, The 1867 Photographs of W W Thwaites. This is the first in what we hope will be an Early New Norcia series; it is also the published result of the work that Bob did as an Abbot Placid Scholar. The Archives Committee hopes that future titles in the series will include Andrew Walton’s scholarship work on New Norcia’s maps, and Liz Conor’s work on the engravers and engravings in Salvado’s Memoirs. Joan Oakland, who launched Journal No 25 last year, was the editor for both publications and is to be complimented on the fabulous job she has done in the layout for both.
The third book was one that has been in the making for over six years – that being Larrie Strautmanis’ New Norcia’s Buildings and their Stories. Larrie, who lives in Adelaide, has made several trips to verify facts for her book over the years and the result, beautifully put together by Natalie Nixon, is superb. Even in draft pre-publication manuscript form it has proved to be an invaluable tool for archival research.
Finally, but by no means least, Fr John announced the new Abbot Placid Spearritt Memorial Scholar for 2020. She is Marta Pérez Rey, a nationally accredited Spanish / English translator and lecturer in Spanish at the University of Western Australia. Marta is to transcribe and translate the diary of Br Francisco Marsa, a monk who arrived in 1849 but left in 1853 and whose diary is important as it covers the period when Salvado was in Europe. Marta was at the Launch so it was a great opportunity to meet her and see her obvious delight at being awarded the Scholarship.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge the wonderful help given by Carmel, Jody and Joyce on the night; Diane Scott and Esther from City of Subiaco; Très Classique – the musicians; Jolimont Liquor and By-Word-Of-Mouth Catering. Thanks also to our special guests Mayor Penny Taylor, Freeman Heather Henderson and to our guest speaker, Dr Kerry Smith. The City of Subiaco has been wonderful yet again in hosting this event and providing the venue, catering and staff so, once again, a huge thank you to them.