New Norcia, “a piece of Old Spain in the middle of the Australian bush”, was settled in 1847 by Benedictine monks. The town encompasses extravagant buildings, olive trees and church bells coupled with a peaceful tranquil atmosphere. Originally established as an Aboriginal Mission, the monks built a village comprising a church, flour mills, schools, hostel, apiary, blacksmiths shop, olive shed and olive groves surrounding the monastery.Today the town is an important cultural heritage site within Australia. Twenty seven of its buildings are classified by the National Trust and the town as a whole is registered on the National Estate. It continues to be home to a community of Benedictine monks who own and operate this truly unique settlement.
The Museum and Art Gallery houses an eclectic collection of Mission and Monastery memorabilia displayed alongside European religious art and contemporary artworks. Town tours run twice a day, unravelling New Norcia’s unique history whilst allowing visitors to access the elaborate interiors of its heritage buildings.
Following St Benedict’s rule of Hospitality to Guests, visitors are welcome to join the monks for one of the seven daily prayer sessions in the Monastery Chapel, and on Saturdays it is possible to “meet a monk” in the Monastery parlour.
The grand hotel offers delicious meals and a chance to imbibe in locally produced wine, port and Abbey Ale whilst savouring the peace. Why not stay overnight and explore a little further.... the river walk, the new Mission Cottage interpretation centre, and the gift shop are just some ways to while away time in this unique location.