The Monsignor Hawes Heritage Trail takes you through the scenic Mid-West on a four day self-drive tour of 15 buildings created by architect and priest Monsignor Hawes. Monsignor Hawes, the local Catholic priest from 1916 to 1939, built numerous well-known churches around the Mid-West, the UK and Bahamas.
Buildings in Mullewa, Morawa, Kojarena, Carnarvon, Geraldton, Tardun, Perenjori, Carnamah, Nanson, Yalgoo and Bluff Point remain as a dramatic and alluring testament to the skill and productivity of this remarkable man.
Also worth visiting is St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Geraldton which took 22 years to build. Admire the intricate detail of this magnificent and prominent building and marvel in the skills of the talented craftsmen.
While the buildings he designed resonate on an international scale it is the man himself that is at the centre of this experience. Hawes was an astonishing character, a man of dramatic contradictions and fascinating passions and the life he lived could be truly said to be unique.
The trail features 11 substantial interpretive nodes, each detailing a phase of Hawes’ inspiring life story. It also features a number of large mosaics created by local Wajarri artists as a tribute to the relationship between Hawes and the indigenous people of the area. Various trailside structures evoke shapes and forms common in Hawes’ buildings and all along the way be guided by Dominie, the good Monsignor’s beloved fox terrier.
His artistic temperament and willingness to take on ever more projects led to a state of near exhaustion. In 1939 he left Western Australia to return to his beloved Bahamas, where he’d worked earlier as an Anglican missionary in 1908. He was 63 years old and lived out his days as a hermit on Cat Island, true at last to his cherished Franciscan ideals.