New Norcia

New Norcia was founed in 1846 by Spanish monks who had been sent to the area to help educate the Aboriginal people about God. As the years progressed, so did the town. Two schools were built for Aboriginal children, and two boarding schools for non-Aboriginals. The town is now home to only fifty people since the schools closed down in 1991. While we were there we got the monastic history of the town from our guide Belinda Scott. We also got to meet two former students of the schools for Aboriginal children, Lester Jacobs and Sheila Humphries. We learned boomerang and spear throwing from Lester, and painted our own Aboriginal works of art with Sheila. One of the monks also spoke to us about his daily routine . Our housing for the time we were there was the former convent of the Spanish nuns who taught at the school. It was very neat to live in a piece of history. We are very fortunate to have heard so many different stories in New Norcia. It is an experience we will never forget.

 

Our wonderful guide Belinda talks to us in St. Gertrude's chapel.
The pathway to the Abbey was lined with palm trees.

 

Hanging out as a class at night in our convent residence. What a great time that was!!

 

Lester is showing us how to correctly throw a boomerang. Lester never left New Norcia because he did not know where his family was, and so he did not have anyone. He has accepted what happened, and is one of the jolliest people we met on the trip.

Dom Chris visited us in our common room for a talk about his daily life, and answered any other questions we had for him.

During the 1960s, Vatican II changed the way that Catholics practiced. It required that churches were supposed to become more modernized to appeal to young people. Scraffitti was New Norcia's solution for this. It is a process of layering plaster and then peeling it back to reveal colors. This movement was not very popular though, and was only complete on the Abbey walls. St. Gertrude's was the boarding school for white children in New Norcia. This picture shows the chapel. Luckily, it was not ruined by the scraffitti movement, and is still in its original form.

This is the crest of New Norcia. It was created by the monks who first settled the town. The symbols represent peace, St. Benedict, Spain, and the Swan River. The Bishop's mitar and crozier rest atop the crest. Sara working on her boomerang throw.

Lindsay, Sara, Joey, and Amy during the spear throwing contest.

Get your boomerang on, Annie!!

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