New book on the Benedictine mission among the Noongar people in WA

Published: Thursday 12th November 2015

Caption: L-R The author Dr Stefano Girola with Mr David Balloni, the Italian Consul in Perth

Dr Stefano Girola, Honorary Fellow, Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, recently launched his new book Report of Rosendo Salvado to Propaganda Fide in 1883 at Subiaco in Western Australia. The launch was organised by the Benedictine community of New Norcia.

The book is a translation from Italian into English of a long report that Bishop Rosendo Salvado wrote to Propaganda Fide in Rome, providing a detailed account of the Benedictine mission among the Noongar people of Western Australia, illustrated by the origins, development and condition of New Norcia from 1844 to 1883.

A valuable primary source for those interested in the history of the Benedictine mission of New Norcia, or with an interest in Colonial Australia and the history of multi-cultural contact between Indigenous Australians and Europeans, it is also a fascinating, first-hand account of the scandals that were being played out in the Perth Catholic diocese between 1847 and 1883, recording not only the missionary achievements, but also the setbacks and failures caused by the harsh climate, diseases, ecclesiastical politics and greed.

Throughout the pages of the book, readers will discover the adult life of Bishop Rosendo Salvado, one of the most fascinating figures in the history of Colonial Australia and a missionary characterised by an extraordinary blend of idealism and pragmatism.

Dr Girola said he was delighted to launch his book in Subiaco, Western Australia.

"I am very pleased because an important document written in 1883 by one of the most interesting Christian missionaries in Australia is now accessible to the English-reading public," Dr Girola said.

The launch was attended by Mr David Balloni, Italian Consul in Perth, and Ms Heather Henderson, Mayor of Subiaco.  The book was launched by Dr Joshua Brown, University of Western Australia.

For further information on Dr Girola’s book, please visit here: