New Norcia - Australia's only monastic town...
A true escape from the everday, this unique hamlet 130km north east of Perth is Australia's only monastic town. Everyone, regardless of their beliefs, will find themselves stilled by the soul of this tranquil community.
Here Benedictine monks move quietly amongst historical buildings on their way to pray together seven times daily. New Norcia was established in 1847 as a mission for the local Aboriginal people by Spanish Benedictine monk Bishop Rosendo Salvado. 160 years later New Norcia is still home to Benedictine monks and the monastery is one of the 27 heritage buildings listed on the National Estate.
But it's not just the monks' dedication to peace that makes New Norcia so special. It's also the town's eclectic monastic, Aboriginal and European heritage which the monks invite all visitors to discover.
THINGS TO DO
BE escorted on a town tour of the beautiful buildings.
- ATTEND a weekend spiritual retreat in the monastery guesthouse.
- MEET a Monk in the Monastery Parlour for a taste of monastic hospitality.
- BROWSE the Art Gallery offering European religious art and contemporary Australian art.
- JOIN the monks in their private chapel to pray - a 1500 year-old tradition
- LINGER over a glass of Abbey Ale or New Norcia Abbey Wine at the New Norcia Hotel.
- DISCOVER the eclectic range of products in the Gift Shop.
- DO nothing except soak up the peace of it all. PAX!
Two talented monk artists were responsible for the stunning hand-painted frescoes and pressed metal ceilings which adorn the chapels and restful places of worship. You can enjoy these national treasures located within the buildings on a guided town tour departing from the Museum and Art Gallery at 11am and 1.30 pm daily.
No visit to New Norcia is complete without a visit to the museum which provides a fascinating insight into the monastery’s history and showcases a selection of Aboriginal artefacts. The art galleries are just as appealing with works ranging from traditional European religious art to funky Australian contemporary pieces.
As you stroll around the historic site, soak in the long and rich stories of one of WA's pioneering settlements. You can also join the monks at prayer in their private chapel within the monastery. Make the most of your visit by booking into the atmospheric New Norcia Hotel. While the accommodation is simple, the Latin word Salve - Welcome - on the threshold, tells you this is no ordinary country pub. The Guesthouse also offers an opportunity to quietly share in the rhythms of monastic life.
There are a number operators who offer tours from Perth to New Norcia or include New Norcia in other day tours from Perth - a perfect way to explore this fascinating town.
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The Museum and Art Gallery is New Norcia's star attraction telling the story of the monks and lay people who have made a home in New Norcia since its foundation.
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Depart Perth City and journey north through Chittering to New Norcia before heading back through Gingin.
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