a charming old town which is listed as the only monastic town and benedictine abbey in australia. lies about 133 km north of perth, new norcia just simply a jewel surrounded by the bushland.
what i adore so much here is, the serenity of its town. charming and enchanting. with a gorgeous abbey church and several old religious places that can not be opened from public, except under prior permission with the monks.
it’s early morning after good friday of easter when i have opportunity to pay a visit to this charming town. i’d just captured my step into this religious place. contemplation myself for seconds and find how serene this place is.
the monks just walking slowly into the abbey, as the choir performs beautiful religious songs. attending a morning pray. had easter greetings from the abbots. it’s so peaceful inside my heart. and i pray for my beloved mum and dad. and for my beloved ones, c.n.r ingram for sure! and my sibling. i feel so grateful to have all of them in my life.
pax! at new norcia
the history of new norcia just begun whenever spaniards monk dom rosendo salvado followed dom jose benito serra going to cava, near salerno, italy to have monastic profession in 1838. under authorities of rome, they accept missionary vow to be sent anywhere and their first appointment is meet up with first bishop of perth, reverend john brady.
whenever the missionary in perth getting bigger, these two spaniards has been sent to new norcia, 133 km from perth for a christianity mission including to the aboriginal indigenous. unfortunately, dom serra then decided to be back to europe in 1859 and never comeback. dom salvado spent the rest of his life to build new norcia. known as the only monastic town and benedictine community in australia nowadays.
my fondest memory: beautiful spanish-style buildings and fine arts collections within museum and art gallery of new norcia. it’s just like travel back in time.
“pax” is a latin word, means peace. it’s a motto-grotto of the benedictine monks in new norcia. yes hoping peace always be with you. for me personally, it’s great to have a chance to pay a visit in new norcia. especially after good friday in easter. feel like … blessed from the heaven.
and i already tried abbey ale and new norcia sourdough. said that the ale and sourdough plus olive are included to the monks’ diet. so, being there and tried their diet, hopefully i can understand better to stay calm and live in pax!
pax for all of you 🙂
> things to do in new norcia <
# spending a day in new norcia
(c) wilma tucker
the best way to explore new norcia is join a guided tour. because you have opportunity to pay a visit and enjoy the beauty lies behind the locked doors of several buildings — which only can be opened by permission from the monks or in the other words, not open for public.
just take daily guided town tour of new norcia, served twice daily at 11 am and 1.30 pm and each tour takes 2 – 2.30 hours. can be asked directly at visitor’s centre nearby museum and art gallery. it’s cost AU$23.00 when i join this tour.
this daily guided town consist almost all of the historical buildings of new norcia, as follows:
– abbey church and marian shrine
– st gertrudes and st ildephonsus
– cemetery in between st gertrudes and st ildephonsus
– old convent
– central library
– flour mill
– old flour mill
– monastery with its chapel and parlour
– work centre
– olive workshop
– education centre
– new norcia hotel
– road house and general store
# the abbey church
enjoy the architectural of the abbey church. the only benedictine abbey in australia. built by bishop rosendo salvado osb in 1846, this charming church became an icon or landmark for new norcia’s benedictine monastery and community.
# st gertrude and st ildephonsus
exploring many historical buildings within new norcia is pretty interesting. as the beauty lies behind the locked doors and only can be visited if you join a guided tour. it’s great both taken from religious side and architectural side. the striking moorish minarets from st ildephonsus and st gertrudes looks so gorgeous on the front, but the interiors inside those buildings are worth to be seen closely. in several buildings, it’s still using hand-made bricks.
# new norcia monastery
there are monastery chapel and monastery parlour in front of the abbey church. here can be seen the daily life of the abbots. the visitors have opportunity to meet a benedictine monk in the monastery parlour. and in the monastery chapel can have pray with the monks or make confession.
# visit the cemetery
whenever visit a city, one of my fave activity is pay a visit to local cemetery and watching the tombstones. beautiful graveyard, uniquely carved tombs can be found there.
and i can learn a brief history about a person whenever they still alive, as mentioned in the stones.
it’s not different whenever i come to new norcia. from distance, can be seen the white stones field amongst the karri and jarrah trees. so beautiful.
this cemetery lies between st gertrudes and st ildephonsus.
# museum and art gallery and gift shop
great arts collections from european masters and australian contemporary artists can be found here. also small [but a complete ones] gift shop and aboriginal hand-crafted museum.
entrance fee for adult is AU$9.00 it’s not allowed to take pictures inside the museum. so, pay a respect, please!
this museum and art gallery consist of 3 floors.
– at the 1st floor can be found the finest religious paintings from european masters. one of the best is raphael art room within a small dark room. the fact of these masterpieces paintings, several of them ever been stolen about few years ago. good that police can caught the robbers and bring the paintings back to its place. but one of them still been missing nowadays. and said that stupid robber can not fit the art work and its frame in the car, so cut it into several pieces and throw them to the trash bin somewhere in perth. what a mad!
– at the 2nd floor, visitors can enjoy australian contemporary art works. altogether with aborigin’s brass band, a monk’s cell, the abbots throne and interiors of the monks. like vestments for special liturgic occassions.
– at the 3rd floor, there’s st joseph’s orphanage’s exhibition. on displays are including aboriginal hand crafted which were taken from aboriginal school mission [established in 1861]. another display room is about western australia’s flowers and foliages by an australian naturalist.
last but not least is the gift shop next to the reception desk. here can be found a complete souvenirs made-in new norcia. from tablecloths to tee-shirt. from simple cotton bag to daily food. like new norcia sourdough, jam and delicious chocolate riccotti.
> warning: pay respect about taking pictures, please! <
this warning tips is not about the place itself, but rather to the visitors. whenever entering the museum, politely i asked to myree, one of the keepers –who give services for collecting donation from the guests and cashier for museum’s gift shop– about probability taking pictures inside the museum. she’s kindly explain, “sure you can take pictures of the gift shop. but not inside the museum. it’s not allowed.”
so i pay respect not taking pictures in the 1st floor to 3rd floor. of course new norcia’s museum provided superb displays, including collection of 17th – 18th centuries religious paintings and monks’ interiors to aboriginal children handy-crafts. but heart and mind still can remember anything inside there, isn’t it? 🙂
> new norcia gift shop <
the gift shop is not huge. quite small and divided into two rooms. one is all about religious side of new norcia and the other room is for souvenirs.
at the first room [which is connected openly to the other display room] you can find books, all about new norcia. also bookmarks, postcards, prays card [especially from st benedict], holy bible to kind of fragrances.
meanwhile in the second room, can be found tee-shirts, breads [made-in new norcia’s monastery bakery house, which not open for public], jams, chocolates and cookies, abbey ale, and anykind of small souvenirs just like magnetic holders [to be put on fridge], wallpaper decorations etc.
for cotton bags [also important for ‘go green’ life nowadays] can be found at the cashier, only AUS$2 per bag.
what to buy advise is … anykind of souvenirs which suits your budget and orientation.
if want to give someone a religious sense of new norcia, pray card is something nice. if to be given or to be kept by travelers [like me and beloved nicholas :)] a tee-shirt will be cool.
or … fancy to try new norcia’s bread? only limited stock available in perth and fremantle. so, being here is the best opportunity to bring new norcia sourdough home 🙂
approximately expenses: AUS$2 – AUS$100
> where to stay <
new norcia hotel, monastery guesthouse or convent
there are several places can be choosen during your stay in new norcia. just pick up based on your budget and atmosphere you want to have. first on the list is new norcia hotel. then following with monastery guesthouse and st ildephonsus’ colleges and old convent.
* about new norcia hotel, it’s the top-notch in the city. of course still have spanish benedictine monastery atmosphere. including home-made brewed abbey ale to be enjoyed at the verandah. it’s cost AUS$70 for single occupancy or AUS$85 for double [total 16 rooms]
* monastery guesthouse is suit for a retreat programme and they keep the st benedict’s rule about hospitality. it’s cost AUS$75 per person [total can accept 24 guests]
* st ildephonsus’ colleges and old convent also provided accommodation which rather for retreat programme, up to 200 person
> transportation <
there are several way to reach new norcia with main access great northern highway.
1 rent a car or drive your own car companied by road map. you can stop in several places nearby. like bassendean or bindoon or cervantes [on the way to the pinnacles at nambung national park]
2 join day tour which provided by several tour agents in perth, one of them is located at the corner of hay street and pier street, not so far from st george’s terrace
3 take transwa bus which has service from and to perth regularly about 2 times per day, 4 days per week.