Wednesday, February 13

New Norcia

I had been looking forward to visiting New Norcia, and headed off from Perth in my car, alone, with my destination Dongara/Port Denison, but to visit New Norcia along the way.  I had pondered also visiting one or two of the many wineries along the Swan Valley too, but resisted, and kept going.

When I drove through Bindoon, the story of the orphanage there and the children who were brought out from England.  There has been much written about, and filmed about this dark period of UK and Australian history and the poor treatment of the children who were supposedly brought here to a better life.

Nowdays "The majority of training and selection for the Australian Special Air Service Regiment takes place at Bindoon. Some of the facilities include live-firing ranges and the Brigade Special Training Facilities (MOUT)." from Wikipedia.

I do have plans to return to Bindoon and explore further, but as usual time did not allow me to do justice to the town and its Museum, and I headed on to New Norcia.  I had seen a brochure about New Norcia, and did imagine it to be somewhat different, but what amazed me is that after driving through farming land and bush, the first thing I saw was the hotel - quite a bizarre sight set back from the main road in the midst of a dry and start landscape.

New Norcia Hotel

The Visitors Centre
The day that I was there it was relatively quiet, and I was able to find a spot under the shade to park my car before I entered the Visitor Information Centre and Art Gallery.  There was a small fee to pay to let me visit various places around the town, Australia's only Monastic town with an extra ordinary history and the gallery was filled with incredible works of art.

I had missed the tour of the town, as one tour I missed and the other was later in the afternoon so didn't suit me (so have put it on my list of things to do if/when I get back!), but after spending a long time in the museum and art gallery I drove around to the various buildings and had a look inside.

The Old Police Station

The Old Mill

Inside the old hotel

Near the Visitor's Centre

The Old Blacksmith's Shop
There are many other buildings of note to explore, including the Guest House, the Church, etc, so I will have to go back.  I went into the hotel, and bought a couple of postcards, before setting off again.

Also there is a bakery, where bread is still baked on a daily basis, and is available from the little shop in the Visitors Centre.

I had a fair drive to Dongara ahead of me.

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