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Church of Our Lady in Ara Coeli


Shire of Northampton

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


49-51 Hampton St Northampton

Location Details

Other Name(s)

St Mary's

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1936

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
Heritage List Adopted 15 May 2020
State Register Registered 28 Feb 1995 Register Entry
Assessment Documentation
Heritage Council

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Municipal Inventory Adopted 19 Apr 1996 Category 1A

Category 1A

HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT AT STATE LEVEL. Highest level of protection appropriate. Provide maximum incentives under the Town Planning Scheme with encouragement to the owner to conserve the significance of the place. Prepare a floor plan and photographically record the place prior to any redevelopment.

Classified by the National Trust Recorded 27 May 1974

Heritage Council
Register of the National Estate Indicative Place

Heritage Council
Art Deco Significant Bldg Survey Completed 30 Jun 1994

Heritage Council

Statement of Significance

This church has very high significance locally for aesthetic and social reasons, and for its associations
with builder Thomas P. Crothers (later of the Geraldton Building Company). It also has high State
significance as another unusual example of Mons. Hawes' architecture.

Physical Description

This church is one of the most romantic of Mons. Hawes' churches with Gothic character, heavily influenced by'
Arts and Crafts' motives, compared with his other churches in the surrounding region which generally exhibit
classical language. The 'Arts and Crafts' influence comes through strongly with the circular tower with turret roof
and the Dutch gable ends to roof hips. The green tiled roof may not be original but no evidence has been seen to
the contrary. Externally the walls are random coursed sandstone, which features red stripes in the stone similar to
that found in coastal areas like Kalbarri, but in this case was quarried at Willi Gulli. The walls are buttressed,
articulated and stepped, finished with rendered capping. Windows are narrow, pointed, Gothic shape with
rendered weather mouldings down the tops of the arches ending with an acanthus leaf boss (similar renderings
are to be seen on the Naraling Church Hall - see Chapman Valley Municipal Inventory).
Internally the roof is supported on splendid exposed timber trusses with a timber boarded ceiling above.
Unfortunately over the sanctuary the ceiling has been replaced for whatever reason with a quite unsympathetic
timber veneered plywood sheet ceiling. The arch separating the Sanctuary from the nave is painted with pink and
white banding reminiscent of the monochromatic work inside the Mons. Hawes designed, St Xavier's Geraldton
Cathedral. Over the entry is a carefully placed choir loft with access stairs rising in the base of the circular tower.
There are arched aisles down both sides of the nave with high and low level narrow windows with louvred shutters
for good summer ventilation.
For comparative purposes, the following are comments recorded by the Feilman report -( High volumed stone
church with tiled roof, significant style, condition - good, integrity - intact, recommendation - retain without
alteration and maintain original character.)


In 1865 Belgian priest Father A.J. Lecaille was sent from Perth to care for the Catholic people in the Victoria
District. He travelled on horseback between Greenough, Champion Bay, Northampton and Mullewa. Father
Lecaille had a significant impact on the Northampton area and was a dearly loved member of the communities he
visited. At first, services were held in the interdenominational Gwalla Church (Site No. 131). However, in 1868 the
first Catholic Church was built in Northampton under the guiding hand of Father Lecaille, who opened and blessed
the Church on 1 November 1868. This Church was demolished in 1963 when the new brick Catholic School was
In 1936 the second Roman Catholic Church was built in Northampton, slightly in front of the original church and
next to the convent (Site No.82). Designed by priest- architect Monsignor John Hawes, who was responsible for
numerous churches in the area, the foundation stone was laid on 24 May 1936. Despite protests by Hawes, Dean
Irwin had his wishes for a Gothic style building fulfilled. Using stone quarried from Willi Gulli (Site No.31), and
donated by Mrs. M. Williams, the building contractor, Mr Thomas P. Crothers, was aided by many catholic
residents from Northampton. St Mary in Ara Coeli was officially opened in October 1936.
NOTE:Plans of the original design are held at the Catholic Presbytery in Geraldton.

Chronology Entries
1867 Father Lecaille commenced building a school/church at Northampton.
Source Pages
Ancient Landmarks, Bain, M. A., UWA Press, Perth, 1975 ISBN:0 85564 090 1 274
Cork to Capricorn, Marchant James, R., The congregation of The Presentation Sisters of W. A. 171
1868 The Roman Catholic school was completed by Father Lecaille.
Source Pages
Ancient Landmarks, Bain, M. A., UWA Press, Perth, 1975 ISBN:0 85564 090 1 274
1936 The Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady in Ara Coeli was built. (Designed by Monsigneur Hawes)
1963 The old catholic church built by Father Lecaille was demolished to make way for a new Catholic school.


Integrity: High
Orig'l Fabric: complete




Name Type Year From Year To
Monsignor Hawes Architect 1936 -


Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Feilman & Associates; "A Survey of Places of Historic and Landscape Significance in Northampton, Dongara, Geraldton, WA". 1977
"New Church opened" Geraldton Guardian 24/09/1936.
Taylor, J; "Condition report on St Mary's in Ara Coeli Roman Catholic Church: Condition Report", HCWA 1993
Taylor, J; "Conservation Plan on the St Mary's Church". HCWA 1994
Palassis; "Northampton Character Study".
Smith, K. R; "The Birth of a Legend - The history of the Geraldton Building Company and the men and women who made it possible". Geraldton Building Co Pty Ltd, 1994
"Monsignor Hawes Heritage Trail"
"The Hampton Road Heritage Walk."

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
7242 "Saint Mary's in Ara Coeli", Roman Catholic Church, Lot 28 Hampton Street, Northampton : condition report. Heritage Study {Other} 1993
1674 Conservation Plan : Saint Mary's in Ara Coeli Roman Catholic Church. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 1994
202 "St Mary's in Ara Coeli" Roman Catholic Church lot 28 Hampton Street Northampton for the Heritage Council of Western Australia Heritage Study {Other} 1993

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Original Use RELIGIOUS Church, Cathedral or Chapel
Present Use RELIGIOUS Church, Cathedral or Chapel

Architectural Styles

Inter-War Romanesque
Inter-War Gothic

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Roof TILE Terracotta Tile
Wall STONE Other Stone

Historic Themes

General Specific

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

29 Apr 2021


This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.