In memory of New Norcia’s late Abbot, Fr Placid Spearritt, in 2009 the Community established a scholarship that will bring a scholar to New Norcia each year to work on a specific project using the monastery’s archival material. The results of the research would then be made available to everyone interested in Australian history.

The Archives Committee, which oversees the scholarship programme, welcomes expressions of interest by scholars and academics wishing to research an aspect of New Norcia's history. We invite you to fill out the APSMS Enquiry form (below) and contact us with your expressions of interest.

The Committee welcomes donations to support the ongoing research into New Norcia's unique place in Western Australian history. Please contact the archivist, Peter Hocking, to discuss your interest.

Current Scholarship

2023 Eugenia Schettino and Judith McGuinness are translating, researching and organising the letters written from 1849 to 1868 by Santos Salvado to his brother Rosendo Salvado, prior to Santos coming to Australia.

Eugenia Schettino was born in Orizaba, Veracruz in Mexico and has been learning languages since her teen years. She has a BA in Translation and worked for two years for the president of Mexico translating relevant Mexican and Latin American news from newspapers and magazines from English, French, Italian and Portuguese into Spanish. She later became a teacher of Spanish as a Second Language as well as English as a Second Language and has taught Spanish in Mexico, England and Perth, where her family moved in 2005.

Judith McGuinness is a retired French and English teacher who has worked in France, England, Wales and Australia. Her first interest in Spanish started on a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago. As a fluent French speaker she assumed she could get by, but soon discovered the locals only spoke Spanish. Upon her return to Australia, she immediately enrolled in a Spanish Grad Dip, taught by Eugenia Schettino. At a New Norcia Open Day in 2010 she learned of the 30,000 archival documents awaiting translation in the Archives and she and Eugenia have since translated correspondence between Rosendo Salvado and Dom Théophile Bérengier in which Rosendo wrote in Spanish and Bérengier in French.

Previous Scholarships

2010-2011 The inaugural scholarship was awarded to Dr Peter Gilet (a French linguist then at the University of Western Australia) for the translation from French of the letters of Léandre Fonteinne. Fonteinne was a young French monk who formed part of the first Salvado / Serra expedition to the site that would become the New Norcia mission.

The 2012-2013 scholarship was awarded jointly to Dr Stefano Girola, lecturer at the Australian Catholic University and to Dr Joshua Brown, Assistant Professor in Italian Studies at the University of Western Australia. Dr Girola translated Salvado’s 1886 Report to Propaganda Fide, whilst Dr Brown translated, from Italian, the letters of Canon Raffaele Martelli.

In 2014-2015 the scholarship was awarded jointly to Dr Liz Conor (lecturer in print history at Monash University) and Judith McGuinness (a linguist with expertise in French and Spanish). Liz Conor’s interest lay in the series of engravings which were published in the original edition of Salvado’s Memorie Storiche dell’Australia in 1854 now referred to as Salvado’s Memoirs. Judith’s project saw the completion of the translation of the Archives’ collection of letters from Théophile Bérengier, the Abbot of Marseilles and good friend of Bishop Salvado, and which had been started by Peter Gilet.

The 2016-2017 scholarship was awarded to Eugenia Schettino (see above for Eugenia’s biography) and Bob Reece, Professor Emeritus in History at Murdoch University and Senior Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia. Eugenia’s scholarship enabled her to transcribe and translate the substantial correspondence of Santos Salvado, Bishop Salvado’s brother, whilst he was at New Norcia between the years 1869 and 1879. Professor Reece’s scholarship built on his recent work on the early images of New Norcia and how they were used by Bishop Rosendo Salvado to publicise the mission’s achievements overseas. The Scholarship furthered those studies into the images created by the itinerant photographer, W W Thwaites, and the photographs taken by Santos Salvado.

In 2018-2019 the scholarship was awarded jointly to Eugenia Schettino and Judith McGuinness, and to Andrew Walton. Eugenia and Judith transcribed and translated the letters written by Santos Salvado to Rosendo Salvado between 1849-1868, which they revised and fine-tuned during their 2023 tenure, in preparation for publication. Andrew Walton (formerly head of the physiotherapy department at Bentley Hospital) worked in a voluntary capacity in 2017 on the extensive collection of 300 maps which is principally from the Salvado era. The scholarship allowed him to complete this work and conduct further research into the history surrounding the maps as they are frequently mentioned in Salvado’s Diaries.

2020 No scholarship awarded

2021-2022 University of Western Australia lecturer Marta Pérez Rey was awarded the scholarship to transcribe and translate Br Francisco Marsá’s New Norcia diary, which covers the period 1849 to 1853, the exact years that Bishop Salvado was in Europe looking for new recruits and funding. The diary was donated to the Archives in 2005 by Californian Friend of New Norcia, Darryl Corti. He purchased it from an antiquarian book dealer who had chanced upon the diary in the catalogue of a Spanish antiquarian book dealer. The diary has never been translated but as Francisco Marsá was a printer and an educated man, it is expected to shed much new light on the mission’s early years.

If you have any queries or require further information, please contact Archivist Peter Hocking.