Finding Peace

Round Australia Road Trip #18

The small town of New Norcia, 130 km north of Perth, is Australia’s only monastic town. It was founded in 1847 as an Aboriginal mission by  Bishop Rosendo Salvado, a Benedictine monk from Spain.

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At its peak, the monastery was home to 70 monks. Today there are 11 Benedictine monks living within the walls of the Spanish style monastery.

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There are 27 heritage buildings listed with the National Trust; most are only open to visitors on daily guided walking tours. The colleges of St Ildephonsus and St Gertrude were once boarding schools. While they are imposing on the outside, their interiors are beautifully decorated with murals and pressed metal ceilings created by two monk artists in the early 1900s.

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The Abbey Church is the resting place of Rosendo Salvado.

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Originally built in 1927 as a hostel for the visiting parents of boarders, the New Norcia Hotel welcomes guests who can stay overnight or simply enjoy a meal or a glass of Abbey Ale in the restaurant.

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The Latin word Pax , meaning peace, is the motto of the Benedictine monks of New Norcia, and in the chapels, the gardens and the bushland around the town the atmosphere is serene and reflective. It’s easy to feel peaceful here.

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Town Tours depart at 11.00 and 13.30 daily and cost $15 for adults, $13 for concession and $10 for primary school students. No charge for children under 5.

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