SALVADO, Rudesindus (1814-1900)

SALVADO, Rudesindus (1814-1900)
founder of New Norcia, Western Australia
was born in Spain in 1814. He joined the Benedictine order of monks and was obliged to leave Spain on account of political action in 1835. He took refuge for 10 years in Italy with another Benedictine, Joseph Serra, and became well-known as an organist. In 1845 Dr Brady, who had been appointed Roman Catholic bishop of Perth, took them to Western Australia as missionaries, where they arrived in January 1846. Some 13 months later the two missionaries went into the bush to open a mission station about 70 miles north of Perth. For three months they lived with the blacks, subsisting on the same food and often suffering much from want of water. Salvado then decided to return to Perth for assistance. He arrived with his clothes almost torn off his back, and strong efforts were made by the bishop to persuade him to abandon the mission. This he felt he could not do, and as the bishop had no means with which he could help him, Salvado decided to give a concert in Perth. It was supported by people of all denominations, a good sum was raised, clothes, food, seed and a plough were purchased for the mission, and loading these on a cart Salvado made his way back. The little community ploughed and sowed the land, only to have its crops destroyed by animals. To add to its misfortunes it was found that the land reclaimed had already been allotted to another settler. Some 40 acres of new land was, however, allotted to them, and with help from some of the colonists a small monastry was built. Later more land was given to them and the aborigines, realizing that they were receiving nothing but kindness from their visitors, began to trust and listen to them. A school was opened for the children and gradually the mission prospered both temporally and spiritually. Serra went to Europe and collected funds for the mission which enabled fresh developments to be made. In 1849 Serra was consecrated bishop of Port Victoria but shortly afterwards became coadjutor to Bishop Brady. Salvado was appointed to Port Victoria, but the colony being abandoned, found himself a bishop without a see. He had been sent to Europe to raise funds for the Perth diocese and did not return to Australia until 1853. The mission at New Norcia continued to develop in his hands, but in 1866 he was nominated bishop of Perth. He, however, was able to persuade the Vatican authorities that his true vocation lay with the aborigines. In 1867 New Norcia became an abbey with Salvado as perpetual abbot and bishop. In 1871 a brick chapel was built and a more substantial monastery, the boundaries of the mission were gradually extended, and the mission became self-supporting. Salvado died while on a visit to Rome on 29 December 1900, but his work has been carried on by other hands.
Salvado had limitless faith, patience, courage, and understanding of the primitive mind. As the children of the aborigines grew up, they were taught how to maintain themselves with a success scarcely rivalled in any other part of Australia. His work is a perpetual message of hope to all interested in the aboriginal problem.
H. N. Birt, Benedictine Pioneers in Australia; The Catholic Encyclopedia (under New Norcia): P. F. Cardinal Moran, History of the Catholic Church in Australia.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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  • Salvado — /sælˈvadoʊ/ (say sal vahdoh) noun Rudesindus /rʊdəˈzɪndəz/ (say rooduh zinduhz), 1814–1900, Spanish born Roman Catholic prelate in Australia; co founder of New Norcia …  

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