Michael Forman

Michael Forman
Author, Singer, Actor, Photographer. This is where I scratch out things between writing books.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Road Trip: Overnight Stay in Monastery

I've just returned from a lovely road trip with Margo. I wish we could do it again!

Crucifix outside the Gift Shop and Museum.
The plan was to visit New Norcia, a monastic village some 200klms away. New Norcia (spoken as: New Nor-SEE-ya) is now the only living monastic town in Australia.

The monks are completely autonomous. They make bread. They make wine and olive oil. They mend everything... well, that's they way it used to be. Today, contractors are employed for the skills the monks no longer have. When it started, they did EVERYTHING.

It's a Benedictine Monastery - connected to the Catholic Church. The plan was for them to set up a mission in country Western Australia and convert the indigenous people to Christianity. Rosendo Salvado and Joseph Serra did their thing in 1847 and laid the first stone to their church. 

They recruited several laypersons and imported some monk-talent from Rome. All was going well until their European micro-organisms interacted with the native's immune systems. Those they were trying to save died fighting diseases their bodies never knew to fight - enter two boarding schools, one for boys and the other for girls.

We stayed in the old Hostel, now a Hotel. I assumed it was made for visiting parents and dignitaries. It's a fabulous piece of country architecture. The verandahs are wide. The ceilings are high. A super-fantastic staircase dominates the central part of the house. Everything squeaks. Some doors don't close properly. You can see where new world technologies have been added to old world structure. I found the place to have a certain unpretentious charm to it. Other visitors will love or just hate it. If you're expecting five star hotel quality here, it'd be better to find it and stay in one of that kind. I posted some vids of the place at the bottom of this page.

The following day we headed out to The Pinnacles.
The Pinnacles
We took the four-wheel drive over a small area of desert and then parked it with our jaws in our laps. These stone pillars are everywhere! It's a bit creepy. There are hundreds of thousands of them standing around in silence!

Scientists have theories about how they came to be but no one knows for sure. What everyone knows is that these stones are the only ones we can see - many more are buried by centuries of sand in the areas nearby. It's possible that most of Western Australia has them but they're too deep to be identified. Margo agreed that their composition is not unlike the cliff's type, those we have on our very own beach. Like I said, it's possible that whatever caused our cliff's is everywhere and it's all just a matter of how the wind, tide and weather affected it. Again, I've provided some vids below.

Fires earlier this year burnt out much of the north. It burned many other places too but the area below was not far from Lancelin. The understory has cleared out leaving these Grass Trees standing and bare. I've never seen so many (Black-Boys) at once. Although this picture shows thousands, I could've take a three-shot panorama to show 180 degrees of the same. There went as far as the eye could see.

We stopped at a few other places but I won't bore you everything we did and went. The main reason was to get away from the writing desk and put some space between it and home. It's been over two years since we crossed the Simpson Desert and started setting up the new place. Nearly every minute was spent renovating the old beach house and, when that was over, I worked on the new book. Margo suggested we hit the road again and so the bitumen was slapped hard.

That's it. I've got nothing more to write about here. I've got a few press releases to sort out, update the news page and spend time on the homesite.