Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel & HolyApostles St. Peter & St. Paul, & Priest


City of Greater Geraldton

Place Number



Cnr Bowes & Doney Sts Mullewa

Location Details

Entire name for this place is: Church of Our Lady of Mt Carmel & the Holy Apostles St Peter & St Paul, Priest House & Presentation Convent (fmr) - amendment to place occuring late 2004 to include convent

Other Name(s)

Priesthouse & Presentation Convent (fmr)

Local Government

Greater Geraldton



Construction Date

Constructed from 1927

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
State Register Registered 10 Oct 1995 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
Restrictive Covenant YES
Register of the National Estate Permanent 21 Mar 1978
Art Deco Significant Bldg Survey Completed
Classified by the National Trust Classified 11 Jun 1973
Municipal Inventory Adopted 24 Jun 2014 Category 1M

Child Places

  • 01657 Priest House
  • 05112 Presentation Convent (fmr)

Statement of Significance

The Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is an outstanding example of the eclectic architectural style of Monsignor John Cyril Hawes, whose life and works as an ecclesiastical architect are prominent in the history of the MidWest region and who was parish priest at Mullewa from 1916 to 1938. The Church,which is a dominant landmark in the town and a noted tourist destination, is highly valued by the local community for its religious associations since 1927. The Church has a high degree of artistic and technical sophistication, both intemally and externally, and exhibits a well resolved combination of architectural, symbolic and artistic motifs.

Physical Description

The Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a landmark building in the town of Mullewa and is closely associated with the adjoining Priesthouse and the adjacent Catholic school which features the Presentation Convent Fmr. Access to the Church is via Doney Street. The exterior of the Church has a long, low form reminiscent of the Spanish Mission Churches of Southern California while the interior of the Church has Romanesque influences. The building is constructed of local Mullewa stone with concrete blocks for the quoins and mouldings. The red tile gable roofs contrast with the stark white of the feature domes. The main entrance to the west elevation is topped by a corbelled pediment with a deeply recessed arch within which is a large circular window. Above the double doors is an inscription in Roman lettering which reads: "DEO OPTIMO MAXIMO ET IN HONOREM B MARIAE VIRG DE MONTECARMELa ET SS AP PETRI ET PAULI HOCTEMPLUM SACRUM" meaning To God Most Good, Most Great; and in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, and the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, this Holy Temple is dedicated. The double doorway is divided by a column and on either side three spiral fluted pillars make up the mystic number of seven, as per the Book of Proverbs IX.1 - "Wisdom has built herself a House. She has erected her Seven Pillars: Extra width is given to this western elevation by the porch extending to the north and the Baptistery on the south side. In the angle of the nave and transept rises the campanile, terminating in a lantern buttressed with pinnacles at its base. The overall appearance of the Church exterior is rough and rustic, with an absence of smooth mechanically finished surfaces. Internally, the plan of the Church is cruciform with the high altar under the main dome at the intersection of the nave and transepts. The nave has five bays spanned by transverse pointed arches that support the roof timbering. A timber choir gallery spans the western-most bay. Internal furnishings of the Church express Mons Hawes' eclectic taste in art and architecture as well as his desire to create a building that reflected the antiquity of Roman Catholicism. Overtime a number of significant changes have occurred to the Church including the remodelling of the altar to face the congregation in accordance with the Second Vatican Council. In 1962the northern transept of the Church was extended to accommodate seating for an additional 60 parishioners. At the same time, and with riSingdamp causing constant fretting of mortar and stone, the interior walls were rendered over. The underside of the tiled roof was previously unlined, but owing to the ingress of dust and insects into the interior space, it was subsequently lined with timber boards. However, in more recent years restoration works have once again revealed the interior rustic stone and brick walls, greatly assisted by an extensive drainage system which was installed around the building. (Refer to the Conservation Plan and the HCWA Register documentation for a detailed description of the building)


From early 1910, monthly Catholic services were conducted in the developing town of Mullewa. In that same year the local Catholic settlers commenced fund raising towards building a church in the town. The first Catholic church, a small hall-like structure located at the comer of Gray and Thomas Streets, was opened and blessed by Bishop Kelly in 1912. In 1916, Father John Cyril Hawes (b. 1876, d. 1956), who had previously trained as an architect, was appointed Parish Priest at Mullewa, where he would serve until 1938. The church hall was moved from its original site and rebuilt on the current church site in 1919, with a timber framed and iron roofed presbytery adjacent. However, Hawes had plans for an impressive replacement with an initial sketch of the new Church building dated 1920. The following year, Hawes commenced work on building the Church adjacent to the Presentation Convent, which was built in 1915. Work on the Church proceeded in stops and starts, with Hawes' work on other architectural projects for the Catholic Church taking him away from his main focus. The blessing and laying of the foundation stone took place on 24 September 1924, with both Archbishop Clune and Geraldton's Bishop Ryan present. Hawes worked largely on his own as mason, with some paid labourer's assistance and help from local parishioners, in what was an intensely personal work for him. The completed Church was officially opened by Archbishop Clune in May 1927. Following this Hawes tumed his attention to the construction of the adjoining presbytery (priesthouse) which was completed in 1929. Hawes was transferred to the Parish of Greenough in November 1938 and the following year he departed Australia to reside in the Bahamas. On 7 May 1950, a new purpose built school named Our Lady of Mount Carmel, opened adjacent to the Church while the Convent remained in use by the Sisters. In 1962, the Northern transept (St Michaels') of the Church was extended adding sixty to the seating capacity. During this time the interior walls were rendered and the diagonal laid timber board ceiling was installed. In May 1977, the Church celebrated its Golden jubilee. In recent years a programme of conservation works has resulted in considerable work being undertaken to the Church, including the removal of the interior cement render and replacement of flooring. (Refer to the Conservation Plan and the HCWA Register documentation for a detailed history of the place)


Original Fabric: Largely intact



State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
5959 Mrs Mulder's trough; Konnongoring Hall; Perenjori; Hawes, Mullewa; Lynton Heritage Site; Hassell Homestead. Video 1991
3328 Final Report on 1998 Concrete Floor Works the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Holy Apostles St Peter and St Paul Mullewa Report 1998
1542 Report on masonry investigation for the church of our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Priesthouse Mullewa Report 1997
10004 Presentation Convent (fmr) Mullewa, Western Australia Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 2012
1776 Souvenir of the church of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel & Ss. Peter & Paul, Mullewa, West Australia. Book 1974
1369 Conservation Plan for The Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Holy Apostles St Peter and St Paul; and the Priesthouse lots 11, 12, 13 Doney St, Mullewa Western Australia Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 1996
5518 Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Mullewa : 2002 conservation works (final report). Conservation works report 2002
860 Report on methods of window protection for Mullewa's The Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Holy Apostles St Peter and St Paul; and the Priest House Report 1995
3951 Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Holy Apostles St Peter and St Paul, Mullewa-1999 Conservation Works (Walls) Heritage Study {Other} 1999

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


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

Architectural Styles

Federation Bungalow
Inter-War Spanish Mission
Inter-War Romanesque

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron
Wall STONE Local Stone
Roof TILE Terracotta Tile

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Community services & utilities
PEOPLE Famous & infamous people
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Education & science
OCCUPATIONS Domestic activities

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

01 Jan 2017


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.