The historic New Norcia Hotel east of Perth has closed its doors after more than 90 years operating in Australia’s only monastic town. Source: ABC News.
By Jessica Warriner, ABC News
Last week, the Benedictine Community board sent a letter to locals advising them of the closure of the hotel, which the monks operated as a pub and accommodation.
“We regret to inform you that after long consideration, the Board of the Benedictine Community has reached a decision to permanently close the New Norcia Hotel,” Fr John Herbert wrote.
“As a community we understand the New Norcia Hotel has been of significance to generations of locals and the decision to close it has not been taken lightly.”
A Benedictine Community representative declined to be interviewed.
Victoria Plains Shire President Pauline Bantock said the closure had come out of the blue and would have a big impact on the area, as the hotel was a popular spot with tourists and the local community.
“There are many people that we know that use that establishment as their only means of human contact and socialisation – living alone on farms, they look forward to going down,” she said.
“There’s a lot of history for the people in the district. For many, it’s the only place within more than a 50-kilometre radius that they can go and have a meal and have events like weddings.
“We need to look after everybody and make sure we still have that contact because I do think it’s going to have a wellness impact on the community.”
There are 900 people in the Victoria Plains Shire, with New Norcia one of seven towns in the district. Ms Bantock said more community consultation about the closure could have helped the situation.
The town, founded in 1847 by Spanish Benedictine monks, is a popular tourist destination and Ms Bantock said she had some concerns about flow-on effects for tourism in the area.
The New Norcia Hotel first opened its doors in 1927 as a hostel for the parents of boarders at the New Norcia Colleges, but later opened to the public.