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John Hawes (Monsignor)

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Monsignor John Hawes (September 7, 1876, Richmond, England – June 26, 1956, Miami, Florida) was an architect and priest. He began training as an architect in London in 1892.

In 1903 he was ordained an Anglican priest, after which he worked in the Bahamas. He later converted to Roman Catholicism and was ordained a Catholic priest in Rome on February 27, 1915, after which he was sent to Geraldton, Western Australia where he worked as a both a priest and an architect.

In May 1939, Hawes sailed from Fremantle to the Bahamas, officially on a pilgrimage. He lived in the Bahamas as a hermit, and died on June 26, 1956 in Miami, Florida, aged 79[1].

Architecture Work

St Francis Xavier Cathedral

St Francis Xavier Cathedral

Monsignor Hawes' architectural work in the Mid West region of Western Australia is renowned. He was appointed Diocesan Architect and designed:

  • The Cathedral of St Francis Xavier, a Spanish Mission style cathedral in Geraldton. The completed building was officially opened in 1938
  • Nazareth House in Geraldton
  • The Cemetery Chapel of the Holy Spirit in Geraldton
  • The Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and adjoining priest house in Mullewa[2]
  • Only two private residences were designed - one being the homestead for Melangata Station north of Yalgoo, the other could be the White Tower in Bognor Regis, UK, built as a holiday residence for him and his brothers with a single bedroom on each floor and a parlour.

The Monsignor Hawes Heritage Trail is a tourist route which visits many of these buildings, some of which he also built.

He also designed the Anglican Church of S. Christopher, in Gunnerton a small village in the North Tyne valley, Northumberland. [3]. The building has recently been beautifully restored and now boasts a fine stained glass window by William Tillyer in the W end (thanks to the efforts of the present incumbent Rev. J. Wylam).


  1. Monsignor Hawes - Architect/Priest, City of Geraldton
  2. Mullewa, Sydney Morning Herald, February 8, 2004
  3. Pevsner: The Buildings of England-Northumberland Pub. by Penguin

External links

Further reading

  • Evans, A. G. The conscious stone : a biography of John C. Hawes Melbourne : Polding Press, 1984. ISBN 0-85884-376-5 (pbk.)
  • Taylor, John Between devotion and design : the architecture of John Cyril Hawes 1876-1956 Nedlands, W.A. : University of Western Australia Press, 2000. ISBN 1-876268-16-6

See also

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