New Norcia is a monastic settlement. It was founded in 1846 by Spanish Benedictine monks as an aboriginal mission. The town is still owned and run by the monks. Currently all of the monks are Australian born. The last Spanish monk died a few years ago. The architecture of the major buildings are an ornate Spanish-style which looks a bit amazing in the Australian bush.
We went on a 2 hour tour of the town which was full of interesting information of the history and how the town runs today. The boys were amazing on the tour. So well behaved. Asking good questions. Who would have thought they could be so good. Maybe the second miracle of New Norcia.
At one point there were 4 schools operating here, a boys and a girls mission school for the aborigines, and a private girl and boys boarding school run by the Benedictian nuns and Marist brothers respectively. The private schools were very prestigious and ran from 1880s to 1980s. (I think) In the later years the private schools joined and became co-ed and when the missions were closed the remaining aborigines were moved to the school as well. The school buildings are now used for school camps and for musical and choral groups as the acoustics in the chapels are fantastic. An area in the mission school now teaches school groups about Aboriginal culture. Ben thought that this would be a great camp.
After this fabulous stop we drove to Cervantes on the coast, the boys were quickly in for their first swim in the Indian Ocean. The first of many.
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