Mullewa

A typical northern wheatbelt town centred around the railhead and the bulk loading facilities.

Mullewa is the home of some of Monsignor Hawes' finest buildings, having the greatest number of any town in the Central West. There is the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Holy Apostles St Peter and St Paul, the Priest House (now known as the Monsignor Hawes Priesthouse Museum) which stands nearby, and the headstone for Selby John Arnold in the town's Pioneer Cemetery.

Outside Mullewa on the Mount Magnet road is an area known as the old show ground. It was here that Monsignor Hawes, as Mullewa's first resident parish priest, carved a simple altar in the rock and held mass for the local Aborigines. This was not racism but a recognition that the Aborigines were unlikely to attend mass in the formal and very European surroundings of the church.

The Church of our Lady of Mt Carmel and the Holy Apostles St Peter and St Paul

The building which was mostly built by Hawes - he was architect, foreman and labourer - is an attempt to recreate a Romanesque church typical of the village churches in Italy and Spain. It is a low church designed to keep the sun out and to blend into the harsh semi-desert environment. Hawes, who saw each of his churches as expressing some aspect of his faith, saw the church and its buildings as symbolising the antiquity of Christianity.

The church has been internally altered in recent times but there is still plenty of detail for the visitor to enjoy. It is claimed that one of the gargoyles is a caricature of the Bishop of Geraldton with whom Hawes was engaged in a bitter dispute at the time of construction. The bell tower has seven bells the largest of which was cast in Oregon as a railway bell and the pipe organ was given to the church by Hawes' mother.


The Priest House

Next to the church is The Priest House which is open to the public from 10.00-11.45 and 1.30-3.00 Monday to Friday. It was completed in 1927 and is now a museum. It is a truly unusual and charming building with an ingle–nook fireplace, half-panelled walls, latticed bow windows with box seats and lots of Hawes' memorabilia including a plaster bust he made as an arts student and a cup he won at the races in Yalgoo.


Pioneer Cemetery

About 1 km north of the town on the Mullewa-Carnarvon road is the Pioneer Cemetery. Here is the only example of a Hawes' designed and constructed headstone. The stone was carved for Selby John Arnold, one of the altar boys in the Mullewa Church.


Butterabby Graves

Butterabby Graves is a site of conflict where the Wajarri and the Nhanhagardi/Wilunyu peoples attempted to resist pastoralist expansion. The site contains the grave of James Rudd who was killed by aborigines and the graves of five aboriginal men who were hanged for the spearing of Thomas Bott who later died from his injuries.  The deaths followed a classic conflict over limited food and water resources, violence was inevitable and the two white men died in separate incidents in 1864. The five aboriginal men Wangayakoo, Yourmacarra, Garder, Charlacarra and Williacarra were arrested and sent to Perth for trial, found guilty and sentenced to death. They were taken back to Butterabby and hanged near the scene of the crime as an example to other tribesmen.

In 1973 a Mullewa farmer, Albert Keeffe, arranged for a huge granite rock to be erected on the infamous site. To get to the Butterabby site take the Mingenew Road west of Mullewa and proceed along it until you reach the sign: 'Gravestones - Butterabby'.


Tallering Peak and Gorge

Tallering Peak and Gorge (61 km north): located in the heart of the Murchison pastoral country, Tallering Peak stands as a landmark which can be seen long before it is reached. Coupled with the gorges at its base are the mining workings on its slopes. Many varieties of wildflowers can be seen here in spring.


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Where is it?

450 km north of Perth and 98 km east north east of Geraldton


Wildflower Country

Mullewa lies deep in the heart of wildflower country and is well frequented by people wishing to view the best of the region's dazzling wildflower displays. The entire region, about 100km east of Geraldton, is a blaze of brilliant colour during the wildflower season from around August to October. Mullewa is particularly well known for its carpets of everlastings and the stunning wreath flower.


De Grey Stock Route Heritage Trail

In the 1860’s renowned bushman E.T. Howley pioneered the DeGrey Stock Route. The De Grey Stock Route Heritage Trail follows the route first gazetted in 1905, commencing at the mouth of the De Grey River and finishing at Mullewa. Stretching north for almost 1,500 kilometers this route linked vast pastoral properties of the Murchison, Pilbara and the Gascoyne regions to the markets of Perth and south-west.  The trek took many months to complete and it is reported that more animals were driven on the DeGrey route than all the other tracks combined. (including the Canning Stock Route). In the 1890’s the Government established wells which were spaced about one days travelling apart.  It often took hours for the stockmen to draw the water for the thirsty animals. This driving trail takes in three of the southern-most government wells and natural watering hole, Hughie Rocks.

Hawes heritage Trail

The Hawes heritage Trail is a journey of inspiration and surprise, revealing some of the finest architecture in the state. Monsignor John Hawes legacy is a trail of beautiful churches, from the splendid cathedral in Geraldton to tiny country chapels. Every structure is different, designed in harmony with the land and consisting mostly of rough textured local stone and simple lines.


Brief history

Mullewa was named after Mullewa Spring, an Aboriginal name first recorded by surveyor John Forrest in 1873; its exact meaning or reason for its choice is not known. Suggestions include that it is derived from "mooloowa" meaning fog (the town is often covered in mist on winter mornings); derived from "mallowaur", the local native name for the dingo; derived from "mullawacare" meaning hut or dwelling; derived from "murowariwari" meaning a bird.

The first pastoral leases in the area were taken up in 1869. In 1894 the government constructed a railway from Geraldton to Mullewa to service the growing number of farms in the area. A townsite was surveyed in that year. The railway arrived in 1894 and for a brief time Mullewa was the transportation node for the whole of the Central West.

Mullewa, along with Geraldton, Northampton, Yalgoo, Tardun, Morawa, Perenjori and Nanson, can boast a number of religious buildings by the famous Western Australian architect-priest Monsignor John Hawes. Between 1915-1939 Hawes designed and helped to build a large number of churches and church buildings in the Central West.

Hawes was Mullewa's first resident parish priest. He arrived in the town in late 1920 and started building the church three years later. It was to be his most personal and most original church and, as he wrote at the time, his devotion to the task was complete. 'I am building into these stones at Mullewa, poor little feeble church that it is, my convictions, aspirations and ideals as to what a church should be.'

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