A man, unique in the religious history of Geraldton and the Mid West area and beyond, was the renowned priest and architect Monsignor John Hawes.
Born at Richmond, near London in England in 1876, Monsignor Hawes had designed and built his first church by the age of 21, in 1897.

He was ordained for the Geraldton diocese in 1915 and worked in the region for many years, before leaving in 1939 to end his days on Cat Island in the Bahamas.
Monsignor John Hawes died at St. Francis hospital in Miami, Florida U.S.A in 1956 at the age of 80.

The Geraldton region abounds with memorials to this great man. Buildings such as St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, St. Lawrence Church and the Cemetery Chapel in Geraldton, St. Mary’s Church Northampton, St. James Church, Kojarena, Church of our Lady of Mt. Carmel Mullewa, Chapel of St Hyacinths, Yalgoo, St. Josephs Church, Perenjori, St. Mary’s in Ara Coeli, Northampton, and the Church of the Holy Cross, Morawa . The Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier in Geraldton, was one of three Australian cathedrals featured in a 1997 English architectural publication and described as ‘One of the finest cathedrals of the 20th century’.

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