Calingiri is a town located north east of Perth, near New Norcia in Western Australia. It is in the Shire of Victoria Plains. The town derives its name from Calingiri Waterhole, the name of which was first recorded by a surveyor in 1903. The settlement was first proposed in 1914. By the time the town was gazetted in 1917 it was variously spelt as Calingtry, Kalingiri, The Washpool, Kalingary, Calingarra, Calingtry, Calingiry, Kalingiry and finally Calingiri.
Australia’s only monastic town, New Norcia was named in 1846 by a Spanish monk after the birthplace in Italy of St Benedict.
Soon after the town was named, monks started building New Norcia’s beautiful monastery to serve as an Aboriginal mission. Now serving as a boarding school, Salvado College, visitors are still given a warm welcome.
Today, about 20 Benedictine monks continue to lead a traditional, communal life of prayer and reflection. You must visit the monastery’s museum and its art gallery to view the priceless collection of religious art and to see the monks’ flour mill, their olive press and blacksmith’s shop.
In May 1993, as a commercial venture, the wood-fired oven in the monastery was re-lit to revive a 150-year tradition of bread making by the monks. They claim the old oven produces the best bread in WA and a renowned nut cake.