|It rained off and on all night and when we awoke it was wet and cold. The wind just does not stop blowing. We drove into Gingin and picked up a few supplies and then drove to Bindoon along country roads up and down hills beside farms. Very pretty and the bright nearly fluro blue wildflowers were stunning in the early morning sun (when it did appear). We pulled into Bindoon and purchased a bag of oranges from a roadside stall for $2.50 as well as some fuel. It was a relatively short drive up and down the hills (some were more than hills) until we arrived in New Norcia - the monastery town. Not really sure what to say about this place - you really need to see it to appreciate what has been built over 100 years ago. The weather was ordinary (below 10 with a wind chill plus rain) and made the going a bit tough. We spent the morning in the museum and art gallery (old girls aboriginal school) and it was brilliant. The displays and the history means you could spend days. They even had the instruments from the old aboriginal brass band - impressive. After lunch we went on the guided tour for 2 hours to hear about the history and see the outside of the monastery (10 monks still reside) and the Abbey Church which we thought was very beautiful with its 2000 tube pipe organ and murals. That is until we visited the chapels at the white boys boarding school of St Ildephonsus and the white girls school of St Gertrudes. These were absolutely amazing. While we took some photos, they just do not do justice nor reflect the ambiance and feel of the place. It is just unbelievable to see the restoration work being done inside these most magnificent buildings in country WA. We also visited the aboriginal boys school, now the education centre and the flour mill. After the tour we went back to the Abbey Church for another look and also to the cemetery where the aboriginals have simple white wooden crosses and where many monks and sisters are buried. The wind never let up but the rain stopped and sun came out just as we got back to the motor home down on the old oval. Irony. The night is expected to get down to 2o. It does give you some appreciation on how tough it must have been in the early days here - bitterly cold, wet and windy in winter and hot and dry in summer. The history of the 4 separate schools was also very interesting and to know that schools still come for music camps and such now means to some extend the building still are being used. You could not but be inspired to play or sing well on a music camp in the chapels which have excellent acoustics and visually breathtaking scenery. It is also interesting to note that the acreage and capital of the monastery is still very considerable with grain crop farms, winery, olive groves, sheep properties etc. Even today there were many more tourists than I would have expected and it was a quiet day according to the guides. This place is well worth a visit - one of the best days out of many we have had.