Michael and Pam's Travels Our European Motorhome Adventures and other Travels

New Norcia, Western Australia 2023

Date: 12-13th April 2023

Travelled: 60 kms from Moora to New Norcia in Western Australia   

Visited:  The Monastery Settlement of New Norcia  

Stayed: New Norcia Roadhouse, $15, S30.97371, E116.21243  

Budget: days @ $ per day

The Cockatoo walk done, we have breakfast and ready the Jayco for the road. New Norcia should be less than an hour, so we do a quick shop on our way out of town.

Once again the predominate scenery on our drive is wheat stubble and grain bunkers.

New Norcia, Shire Of Victoria Plains, Western Australia, Australia

The New Norcia Roadhouse offers itself as an RV stop for $15 with power, but on having a quick look there are 6 motorhomes already parked in every spot that looks level. I made a face and the manageress gives us the option of parking on the bitumen alongside the roadhouse which is level and out of the wind so we set up.

New Norcia is not a town in the traditional sense, but a monastic settlement founded by Spanish Benedictine Monks in 1847 as an Aboriginal Mission. It would continue to grow and reinvent itself as an Aboriginal Mission later an Orphanage playing its part with the stolen generation, Catholic Boarding School for boys and later for girls.

The buildings are grand with a strong Spanish style. Now the property of the diocese of Perth, New Norcia is still controlled by the Benedictines. The settlement runs into 20,000 acres, has 500 olive trees, vineyards and bakery. While there was once 60 priests and monks there are now only 6 living in the monastery today.

Our first afternoon is spent visiting the Museum and Gallery, which takes about 90 minutes. I takes us back to many such religious museums weโ€™ve visited in Spain and Italy.

Why New Norcia you ask ? St Benedict was born in Norcia, Italy

Obviously most of the gallery has a focus on religious themes, there is special exhibition of the works of Albert Namatjira and his family, which is excellent.

The late afternoon and evening looks after itself. Next morning we set off to follow the river walk and explore the farm.

The following photos are from our walk in the morning when no one was around, and during the escorted tour later in the day. You can only get into the buildings on a tour. The tour was informative giving insight into dedication of the monks coming here from Spain and the Aboriginal peoples who lived and worked here in what seems today as very harsh conditions.

The monastery (pictured above) is the only building out of bounds, our guide tells us the compound has three seperate cloisters and a private chapel.

If youโ€™ve followed our travels over the years you know we enjoy wandering the odd cemetery and New Norcia was very interesting. The Abbots graves are in a line taking the centre of the cemetery the priest and monks surround them, the aboriginal community around them and the families who have lived and worked on the farm over the generations at the front.

The last point of call on our tour is area dedicated to the Yued People, the local Aboriginal clan or nation. The cover photo was taken in that display and the picture below as well.

Lastly a couple of general comments. the New Norcia Bakery bread is fabulous, the sausage rolls and pies even better. They have a thriving business in olive oil and wine. The tour well worth the expense. Iโ€™m sure we will look back at New Norcia as one of the highlights of our trip to south-west WA in 2023.

Michael + Pam

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