Often incorrectly called a town, New Norcia has never been officially gazetted as such, as it is a Benedictine Mission.
Part of the interest of New Norcia is the incongruity of the place.
These styles of architecture, fresh from Spain and imported into
Central and South America, don't belong in the bush and have no
heritage in this area. They sit oddly amongst the gum trees and the dry
grasses of the wheatlands.
The quaint beauty of its setting, the old world model of its
architecture, the number, the size, the real magnificence of some of
its buildings, excite wonder and admiration. Nowhere else in Australia
is there a place like New Norcia, and he who is fortunate enough to
spend even a few hours within its hospitable walls will find interest
quickened to the liveliest appreciation.
Guided Town Tours depart at 11.00am & 1.30pm, every day except Christmas Day and Boxing Day. More information
While the Town Tour is the best way to see what lies behind closed
doors and hear the story of New Norcia; if organised tours aren’t
for you or you have arrived outside of tour hours, there is still
plenty to see and do in New Norcia. More information
Museum and Art Gallery
Any visit to New Norcia should include the major buildings in the
complex. It is sensible to start at the Museum, Art Gallery and Shop
where the Heritage Trail brochure can be purchased and where some of
the treasures of the monastery are on display. The museum houses the
daily requirements of the monks and shows what their daily life
involved - a medical display, an agricultural display, a display of
Aboriginal artifacts. The art gallery is a mixture of European
religious art (including the fascinating story of the theft of art
works from the gallery and the destruction of those works by rolling up
the canvases - it is now estimated to cost over $100 000 to repair the
recovered canvases - the damage the thieves did to the canvases can be
seen) and modern Australian religious art - some indifferent and others
truly inspirational. The Museum and Art Gallery are open from 10.00
a.m. - 4.30 p.m. daily. More information
New Norcia Monastery
The Monastery was built in the early years of this century, but is
actually located on the site where the first mission building was
constructed in 1847.
New Norcia Hotel
The New Norcia Hotel was built in 1927 as a guest house for parents
visiting their children in the schools. It is now a hotel for people
who want to stay in the area or who want to enjoy a meal.
The Abbey Church is a wonderful example of bush architecture
combining stones, mud plaster, rough hewn trees and wooden shingles. It
was originally built as a typically Georgian church but Abbot Torres'
additions gave the building a decidedly Mediterranean feeling. On the
wall of the church is the painting of The Mother of Good Counsel
(otherwise known as Our Lady of Good Counsel) which was the subject of
the first miracle to occur at the settlement. During 1847 a bushfire
threatened New Norcia and Dom Salvado produced the painting, pointed it
in the direction of the flames, prayed, and the wind promptly changed
direction and the bushfire dissipated.
St Gertrude's Girls Residence was built in the Gothic Revival style
and completed in 1908 with elaborate gables and a stucco and brick
exterior. The Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart were entrusted
to run it as a girl's boarding school.
The local Police Station was originally the old Novitiate. Built in
1876 it has, at various times, been used as a guest house and as
worker's quarters. It has a particularly impressive sundial on the
St Ildephonsus' Boys Residence is less imposing that St Gertrude's.
Designed by Abbot Torres its style is Byzantine influenced. It was
opened in 1913 and originally staffed by the Marist Brothers. The
Benedictines took over the teaching in the college in 1965.
The New Flour Mill, reputedly the oldest working flour mill in
Western Australia, was built in 1879. It is still operational and flour
from the mill is used to produce the bread which is baked in the
monastery's ovens. There is a display on the first floor. Ask at the
Tourist Information Centre for access. The Old Flour Mill over the road
dates from the 1850s and is the oldest surviving building in New Norcia.
Bishop's Well and Bishop Torres Beehouse
Across Moore River are the Bishop's Well and Bishop Torres Beehouse
(which is not open to the pubic). The well is the largest surviving
example of wells which the monks sunk in the surrounding region. The
beehouse is an unusual octagonal shape.