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New Norcia Benedictine Community
New Norcia Road
New Norcia WA 6509

Getting There

Main Office

T: +61 8 9654 8018
F: +61 8 9654 8097

Friends of New Norcia / Volunteering

T: +61 8 9654 8018

Museum & Art Gallery

T: +61 8 9654 8056

Group Accommodation & Education Centre

T: +61 8 9654 8018


T: +61 8 9654 8018

Visit New Norcia

People visit New Norcia for many reasons; for spiritual retreat, to join a tour and see inside the magnificent buildings or sometimes just to walk around the town and enjoy the peace and beautiful scenery.

In this section you will find all the information you need for your visit to New Norcia. Details of places to eat and places to stay, details of the town tours and information about some of our favourite things to do in Australia’s only monastic town.

We recommend your first port of call is the Museum & Art Gallery to speak to one of the staff about the attractions and experiences New Norcia has to offer. The Museum & Art Gallery is also a Visitor Information Centre and is the point from which town tours leave.

Stay at New Norcia

There are so many different options for accommodation at New Norcia.

The Guesthouse is perfect for a quiet, retreat like experience - a world away from the rigours of modern life. You can join a Benedictine retreat here or be housed in the Hermitage for a silent retreat. Groups can be accommodated in the Old Convent or the historic boarding school colleges. Smaller groups are also able to book the Hostel, with its comfortable rooms, neo-classical architecture, scenic deck and heritage veranda, as well as St Ildephonsus' Cottage.

Please click on the areas on the right for more information.

Eat & Drink

Hospitality is a tenet of the Rule of St Benedict, the Rule by which the monks of New Norcia live, so wherever you choose to eat in town, our aim is for you to experience warm monastic hospitality.

Education & Research

From the earliest days of its foundation New Norcia has been focussed on education. The first Abbot, of New Norcia (Rosendo Salvado) established the Aboriginal girls and boys schools and the second Abbot of New Norcia, Fulgentius Torres built and opened the European girls and boys schools, which closed in 1991.

Since the closing of the schools, New Norcia's school buildings and grounds have been utilised by groups undertaking education programmes.

However, New Norcia also has a tradition of research and academia, with its impressive archival records and library collection, and scholars and researchers alike have delighted over the years in the information available in the town's records.

This section also provides information on the archives and library and provides link to forms which will give you access to the records of New Norcia.

Protecting a Unique Heritage

New Norcia is Australia’s only monastic town and has a unique heritage. Founded in 1847 by Spanish Benedictine Monks, the town has had many purposes; a mission, a monastery, a provider of education and now as a place of spiritual retreat.

Delve into the town's unique history, discover the ongoing and completed work necessary for the upkeep and restoration of this special part of Australia.

But it is not only the majestic buildings set amongst the Australian bush that sets New Norcia apart; its history is also encapsulated in the archival records of New Norcia and in the library and museum collections.

In this section we also have information about how you can donate to New Norcia to help the Community restore and maintain this treasure.

What's Happening at New Norcia

We hold a diverse array of events throughout the year at New Norcia.

Each year we host a full programme of events including a spiritual retreat programme presented by the Institute for Benedictine Studies, dinners at the New Norcia Hostel and a few other surprises!

Watch this space for all the updated information about "What's on at New Norcia".


Salvado Catholic College Visit

Friday, September 15th, we had 58 Year 5 students from Salvado Catholic College attend New Norcia for a day visit.

They started the day off at the Prindiville Room and 6 Seasons Panels, completing activity sheets as they went along. This was followed by a tour of the cemetery and then Midday Prayers. After a sausage sizzle lunch the students, teachers and parent helpers enjoyed a town tour, looking at the two colleges (including a quick peak at the dormitories which they loved and with many questions about how the students lived back when they were boarders), flour mill, Rock of Remembrance, Abbey Church and Aboriginal Interpretation Centre. For most of the students, their favourite building was the “princess castle” (St Gertrude’s) and accordingly to them, even the Royal Family would love to live there!

Pilgrimage from Hong Kong

Twenty pilgrims from Hong Kong arrived for a three day stay in New Norcia at the end of September.

The group enjoyed a talk by Fr. Robert on the Benedictine way of life and the life of the monks in New Norcia. Fr. Robert ended the talk by giving them a special performance on the piano in the Hostel bar – they were very impressed! The pilgrims attended prayers and Mass with the monks each day and took advantage of the beautiful weather by exploring the town and the Museum/Art Gallery. The group leader, Anthony, expressed their thanks for the hospitality provided in New Norcia and is already making plans to bring future pilgrim groups to New Norcia.

A Rare Celebration at New Norcia

It is not often that we have the opportunity to share in the celebration of such a milestone of the life of one of our monks.

Sixty-five invited guests attended the Eucharistic celebration of Fr. David’s diamond jubilee of priestly ordination, appropriately framed within the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, in the abbey church at 11:00 am Thursday 14th September 2023.

The mass was followed by a buffet lunch in the refectory with all the invited guests, and an opportunity for Fr. David and, indeed, guests to catch up with old friends.

A Special Anniversary

We had a very special celebration at the Hostel on Saturday, 23rd of September. 25 years after they were married in St Ildephonsus’ Chapel with a wedding reception in St Gertrude’s Dining Room, Anthony and Leanne Cormack returned to New Norcia with their bridal party, family and friends to celebrate their anniversary.

Leanne decorated the Hostel with mementos from their wedding day, their wedding photo album and lemons and ivy on the table, the same as they had on their wedding day tables. She also placed candles leading up to the front of the Hostel to replicate the candles they had leading up to the St Gertrude’s on their wedding day as seen in the attached photo from 25 years ago. It was a very special night for the guests!

Spring Lunch on the Deck

On the 21st September, New Norcia hosted a visit from a local social group, made up of ladies from the local district.

The day started with an introductory talk and tour of the Museum and Art Gallery with Director of Visitor Services, Carmel Murray who has lived in the district all her life. The group was shown various exhibitions relating to Aboriginal heritage, and then met Fr Robert at the monastery gates, who gave the inquisitive ladies a tour of the main rooms of the monastery, including the hall, oratory, refectory, library, and bakery, with insightful commentary on the monastic life as it’s lived in New Norcia.

A brilliant musician, he surprised them with a piano recital...a moving experience for them. The group then enjoyed the hospitality of Joyce and her team at lunch on the deck of the New Norcia Hostel.

The group, reflecting upon the unique experience, wrote: “...those of us who thought we had a fair knowledge of New Norcia, learnt something new...thank you for this wonderful experience.”

Community Retreat

The monastic community were pleased to have their directed retreat, the first since the beginning of the pandemic, 3-10 September.

This year we were blessed to have Fr Bede Kierney direct our retreat. Originally a monk of Pluscarden Abbey in Scotland, now the Prior of Christo Buaze in Ghana, West Africa, Fr Bede, a scripture scholar, based his retreat conferences on the theme of ‘purity of heart’, using the richness of the scriptures and the wisdom of the spiritual greats of the monastic tradition. We were also blessed to have Sr Raphael Stone of St Mark’s Abbey Camperdown join us for this special time.

The retreat was the first leg of her three-month sabbatical, including England, France and the Holy Land. We were also delighted to have the presence of locals Jim Longbottom and Chris Hudson, and dear friends Chief Justice Peter Quinlan, Chris Kan, Jason Smith and Phil Timms with us over these days. At the conclusion of the retreat, the silence was filled with much conversation, laughter and sharing of meals on an excursion to Rottnest Island.

Deo Gratias!

An Appreciation of our Volunteers | Part 2: Library and Collections

With the assistance of former New Norcia librarians and collections managers, we have assembled a list of volunteers over the ages to whom we would like to extend ACL’s heartfelt thanks and gratitude.

There will inevitably be people whom we have overlooked and to them I offer our sincere apologies but would like them to know that their contributions are just as highly valued as others’. However, before I start with the Library and Museum Collections, I would like to mention two more volunteers who have proved invaluable to the work of the Archives and beyond. Firstly, Geoffrey Coad who has put his Spanish skills to good use translating the early years of the Monastery Chronicle and also contributing to the recent Chronicles volumes published by Abbey Press. Another publication of New Norcia’s that has benefited from professional input has been The Story of New Norcia which was edited and updated most recently by Rev Dr John Smith.

So, in no particular order but starting with the Library, a huge thank you to Leonie Johnstone who came several days a week for quite a few years between 2000 and 2010. She fully catalogued many hundreds of secular books, thus greatly reducing the backlog. Others who helped in cataloguing were Jenny Redman (around 2000), Marie Welsh (2009-2012) and even Peter Hocking did some volunteering in the 1990’s. More recently, Jim Longbottom who has catalogued nearly 20,000 titles! It should be pointed out here that all of those 20,000 titles were recent donations to New Norcia thus ensuring that Salvado’s dream of “a library in the desert” continues to this day. In the early 2000’s, Shane Dowling discovered the famous Kabalah manuscript when he volunteered to catalogue books in the old monastery library; the Kabalah is now in Jerusalem. Accessioning was carried out by Anita Pagotto (2010 to 2012) who came once a month from Serpentine to accession new periodicals, and Julie Blyth who came in the 1990s to check the accessions of the rare books in the compactus before she moved to Oxford.

Talking of periodicals, between 2008 and 2012, Robin Dunn took on the project of reorganising the periodicals which were shambolic, according to former librarian, Sue Johnston! Paul Hogan came for years in the 1990s to help sort and shelve books whilst from 2005 to 2010, Fr Ian Esmond was tireless in putting up shelving, sorting donations, and helping to completely reorganise the Reading Room.

In Collections we were extremely fortunate to have had long-term volunteers Ian and Lesley Baker who helped with vestments and all sorts of general tasks. Bernadette Edmondson, Anne Spencer, Ann-Marie Leahy and Carole-Ann Lunn, known as the Artworks on Paper ladies, came regularly for many years. Other volunteers included Barbara Eastlake, Diana Davies and, all the way from the UK, Claire and David Bolton, who did do a lot of wonderful work reviving the Abbey Press with Geoff Moor’s expert help. Volunteering their professional expertise were Sally-Ann Hasluck, Claire-Frances Craig, Joy Legge and Ian MacLeod who has made an invaluable contribution to the newly reformed Collections Committee. Taking a break from Archives recently, was Vida Whale who mastered the intricacies of the Mosaic program to such an extent that she is now travelling around Australia helping out in museums and giving them the benefit of her new-found skills.

To all these wonderful volunteers and others whom, sadly, we have omitted to mention, a huge thank you from New Norcia!

Peter Hocking

From the Archives – A Puzzling Document

Just recently, Richard Williams of Wodonga in Victoria, donated a certificate to the archives which seems to have a New Norcia and Victoria Plains connection. However, nobody connected with the Archives can shed any light on it. The certificate appears to be addressed to a Mr H R Birch on the occasion of his becoming a Benedictine but we do know that one of the signatories, Gerald De Courcy Lefroy died in 1877 and that the beneficiary would appear to be Henry Birch who worked for the mission in about 1877.

Richard says: “If only this thing could talk, maybe not! Certainly it has travelled some kilometres since being in my possession. I originally found it in a heap of non-descript rubbish in an old chook shed at the rear of a house we bought in Flamborough Street, Doubleview, in the early 70’s. It’s been to several locations throughout the south west of W.A. and finally to here in Wodonga, Victoria. It has taken me/us fifty years to find a home for it!”

Over the years, Richard has done some research and tells us that some of the signatories on the certificate are, in his opinion, influential men. He notes that “the artist, W Bonney, was a calligrapher and a draughtsman for the Government for a time. The gentlemen, C Crossland and H Hardy, were surveyors of note in the late 1800’s who formed a company which is still operating in W.A. today. This is quite remarkable as they are now the oldest surveying business in Perth.

The Lefroy family goes back to the very early days of Western Australian settlement. But, I can find nothing on Cosmo W Gibson other than he may be of a strong Catholic family/background. As for Messrs J D Hughes and Bowned (?) – they are a complete mystery.”

Can any of our readers tell us anything at all about the document or about the people mentioned in it?

Peter Hocking


On Sunday 10th September, Abbot John in his role as parish priest, baptised three children from local McQuiod and Quartermaine families in St Ildephonsus’ chapel.

The families enjoyed a traditional Sunday roast prepared by Marlon and his team, and served by Joyce and her team, in the newly renovated dining hall afterwards.

Calendars Now Available

Hot off the press - the 2024 New Norcia calendar features the works on paper of Fr. Lesmes Lopez OSB. An exhibition in St Ildephonsus’ large and small dining rooms.

This calendar shows the liturgical calendar as celebrated by the Benedictine Community of New Norcia.

Purchase the calendar

Upcoming Events

Fr Robert Nixon OSB, live at Fremantle Basilica

Friday, 27th October 2023

Performing original compositions from his new album Celestial Void, as well as beloved works of Chopin and Liszt.

Click here for more information.

Treasuries of Ragtime Piano

16th December 2023 NEW NORCIA HOSTEL

This soirée will present an array of ragtime music (including pieces by Winifred Atwell, Scott Joplin and many others), performed by New Norcia's Fr Robert Nixon.

Click here for information and tickets.