An event of great significance unfolded Friday 1 September at the majestic St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Geraldton with the launch of the John Hawes Foundation.
The occasion brought together government officials, businesses, politicians, community leaders, and the Geraldton community to celebrate the start of a heritage conservation and repurposing journey, poised to make a profound impact on regional revitalisation and community well-being.
Special guests for the night included Geraldton Bishop Michael Morrissey, Ms Lara Dalton MLA, Member for Geraldton and representative for WA’s Heritage Minister, the Hon David Templeman, Mr Shane Love MLA, Leader of the Nationals WA, Mr Steve Martin, Shadow Minister for Forestry, and Mr Bob Kucera of National Trust WA.
The evening commenced with a traditional Welcome to Country by Yamatji man Derek Councillor, with the formal proceedings conducted by Tom Stephens.
“Suffice to say that during my time as Minister and prior to, throughout my schooling at Sisters of Mercy and St Patrick’s college – that our Catholic Church and its community play an important role in creating and conserving heritage,” Mr Stephens highlighted.
The Foundation launch keynote address was delivered by UNDA Chancellor, the Hon Christopher Ellison who spoke about the importance of built heritage, arts and crafts and history in defining communities and strengthening its wellbeing.
“At The University of Notre Dame, we highly value the preservation and nurture of heritage and culture whether it be indigenous or non-indigenous,” Mr Ellison said.
“Our obligation extends beyond the physical preservation of walls; it is a commitment to safeguard the stories, emotions, and dreams encapsulated within.
“By upholding our heritage, we ensure that the generations yet to come can stand on the shoulders of our history, gleaning wisdom and inspiration that will propel them toward building even stronger and more vibrant communities,” he said.
The crux of the evening came with the formal launch of the John Hawes Foundation by Chair of the Monsignor Hawes Heritage Inc (MHHI), Fr Robert Cross.
In a symbolic gesture, Fr Cross and the attending MHHI Board members presented the Foundation’s Strategic Plan to Geraldton Bishop Michael Morrissey, a document that outlines the blueprint for the Foundation’s work in revitalising regional areas, strengthening community bonds, and preserving the legacy of the renowned priest architect John Hawes.
“Priest Architect John Hawes was responsible for an astounding body of work throughout the region,” Fr Cross said.
“There is little doubt that Hawes’ work in the region makes an ongoing contribution to the vibrancy of the local built environment and Western Australia’s significant built heritage,” he said.
For those who missed the event or wish to delve deeper into the Foundation’s objectives and strategies, the Strategic Plan is available for viewing here.
Get involved in a unique regional initiative
The John Hawes Foundation, established in honor of the iconic priest architect, aims to rejuvenate regional areas and enhance community well-being. The importance of this mission cannot be overstated, especially in regional Western Australia, where the nurturing of local culture and heritage is a paramount concern.
The Foundation’s work will encompass several key areas:
- Heritage Preservation: By preserving and restoring John Hawes’ architectural marvels in the Mid West, the Foundation will ensure that future generations can appreciate these cultural treasures.
- Community Engagement: The Foundation plans to actively engage with local communities, creating a sense of ownership and pride in the heritage of their region.
- Economic Revitalisation: Through strategic investments and partnerships, the Foundation seeks to stimulate economic growth in regional areas, spurring job creation and business development.
- Education and Outreach: Initiatives aimed at educating the public about the architectural legacy of John Hawes and the importance of preserving heritage will be a core focus.
- Cultural Enhancement: Collaborative efforts with local artists and cultural organizations will contribute to the cultural richness of the Mid West.
The John Hawes Foundation’s launch event on Friday 1 September was the start of this unique regional initiative journey, marked by a shared sense of purpose and enthusiasm among attendees. It is poised to play a pivotal role in the revitalisation of regional Western Australia, fostering stronger communities and preserving architectural heritage.
The Foundation, the MHHI and Geraldton Diocese invite everyone to read the Foundation’s Strategic Plan to gain a deeper understanding of its goals and how they plan to achieve them.
You can also directly contact the John Hawes Foundation via email at firstname.lastname@example.org