Dom Salvado: Life and Music

Dom Salvado: Life and Music

The Old Court House Law Museum will be showcasing many rare and significant items belonging to Dom Rosendo Salvado who was born in Spain in 1814. He entered the Benedictine abbey of St Martin where he took his religious vows in 1830.

Salvado was an accomplished musician and organist, coming from a highly respected musical family. In 1845 he joined a missionary party and sailed to Fremantle, arriving in 1846. Upon his arrival, he made his way to the Victoria Plains, where on 1 March 1846 he established a mission for the training of Aboriginal people at New Norcia.

Not long after, faced with the threat of starvation, Salvado and an Aboriginal companion walked to Perth to raise monies to save the Mission. He gave a three-hour-long piano recital to a packed audience in the Old Court House in May 1846 and raised enough money to buy goods to take back to New Norcia.

Salvado worked with the Aboriginal people at New Norcia and shared their bush life, but also set about teaching them Christianity and how to farm the land. Salvado spent more time in Europe and then returned to Western Australia in 1853 where he became Lord Abbot of New Norcia. He died in 1900.

New Norcia has lent the Old Court House Law Museum objects belonging to Salvado including his papal cross, bibles, diary extracts and compass. These unique and highly significant items will be on display in the Museum from early May.

Photo credit:

  • Dom Rosendo Salvado
  • Dom Rosendo Salvado’s diary
  • ‘View of Perth from Mt Eliza’
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