St Mary's Star of the Sea Church


National Trust of Western Australia

Place Number



21 Johnston Carnarvon

Location Details

Cnr Rushton & Johnston Sts; Lot 337 on Plan 222239

Other Name(s)

Church of St Mary Star of the Sea Group
Church of St Mary’s

Local Government




Construction Date

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
Heritage List Adopted 26 Feb 1988
Heritage List Adopted 23 Jun 2015
State Register Registered 17 Feb 2006 HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument, HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Classified by the National Trust Classified 27 May 1974
Register of the National Estate Indicative Place
Municipal Inventory Adopted 23 Jun 2015 Category 1

Statement of Significance

The Church has architectural significance for its unusual style and appropriately detailed local materials. It has historical significance for its association with its designer, Monsignor Hawes, well known as the designer of the cathedral in Geraldton and other country town churches. With the presbytery and grounds, the place has environmental significance for its contribution to the townscape of Francis St and the Tower is a landmark visible in many vistas around the town.

Physical Description

A concrete block and asbestos tile Church of unusual form, built in 1835 to the design of Monsignor J Hawes. The Church forms a group with its Presbytery on the triangular block that extends back to include the Catholic school behind. The church is aligned with Johnson St, slightly off orthodox orientation, while the Presbytery faces Rushton Street, thus leaving garden space between the two buildings on the north. The presbytery is of an earlier date that the Church, a typical northwest brick and iron two roomed cottage with latticed front verandah to Rushton St. There are various additions to the rear. The cottage wall facing the Church has been rendered to imitate the blockwork of the Church. The Church consists of a tower over an entrance porch, a Nave and a Sacristy and side chapel in the transepts. The symmetrical balance is altered internally by having only one aisle to the south of the nave. On the north side there is a confessional and a porch that gives access to the garden. The tower is unusual in extending almost the full width of the Nave to enclose a gallery opening into the back of the Nave over the porch. The tower narrows beyond the separate gallery roof to become a bell-tower, a strong visual element in Francis St and Carnarvon generally. The roof is covered with Canadian pattern asbestos tiles which have the pindan patina characteristic of Carnarvon and other north west towns. The roof to the Sanctuary is higher than that of the Nave and has been recently ceiled with plasterboard. In the Nave, the asbestos tiles are exposed over hammer beam-like roof trusses which are tied across by steel rods. External walls are constructed of locally made pindan concrete lock with specially shaped blocks to make cornices, corbels and cappings, all of which are in excellent condition and a find example of local building tradition. The colour and texture of these blocks is particularly subtle and well suited to the architectural form and the town scape setting of the building. Inside the walls are rendered and painted including the robust aisle columns so characteristic of Hawe’s work. Gothic windows to the Nave, Sanctuary and gallery have some fine stained and painted glass. Round windows high up in the Sanctuary create a dramatic lighting effect over the altar.


Assessment 1989 Construction: 1934 - 35 Designer: Monsignor J Hawes

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
5385 Conservation plan for St Mary's Star of the Sea Church, Carnarvon Western Australia. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 1997
519 Carnarvon. Book 1980
5671 St Mary's Star of the Sea Church Carnarvon : 2002 conservation works to roof (final report) Conservation works report 2002
9343 Assessment and report on Church of St Mary Star of the Sea Group, Carnarvon. Heritage Study {Other} 2009
7211 Images CD No. 36 : assessment images : Church of St Mary Star of the Sea Group, Carnarvon; Poinciana House, Marble Bar; Corunna Downs Station & Wartime Airbase; Gascoyne Research Station, Carnarvon. C D Rom 2004

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Present Use RELIGIOUS Church, Cathedral or Chapel
Present Use RELIGIOUS Church Hall
Original Use RELIGIOUS Church, Cathedral or Chapel
Present Use RELIGIOUS Monastery or Convent
Present Use RELIGIOUS Housing or Quarters
Present Use EDUCATIONAL Combined School

Architectural Styles

Inter-War Free Classical
Victorian Georgian
Inter-War Romanesque

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall BRICK Common Brick
Wall STONE Local Stone
Roof METAL Zincalume
Wall CONCRETE Concrete Block
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron

Historic Themes

General Specific
OCCUPATIONS Domestic activities
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Education & science

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

20 Sep 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.