On Friday 1 September 2023, an exciting and innovative initiative was launched at St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Geraldton that is focused on conserving and repurposing the Mid West built heritage – specifically that of priest/architect John Cyril Hawes – for regional revitalisation and community wellbeing.

The proceedings commenced with Welcome to Country by Yamatji man Derek Councillor before the MC, The Honourable Tom Stephens, welcomed the audience of over 120 people including parliamentarians, government agency representatives, global mining company and local business representatives and community members.  

The Keynote Address was given by UNDA Chancellor, the Hon Christopher Ellison.  He spoke of the importance of heritage and culture stating . . . .
By upholding our heritage, we ensure that the generations yet to come can stand on the shoulders of our history, gleaning wisdom and dreams encapsulated within.

Fr Robert Cross, Director of Heritage in the Geraldton Diocese and Chair of MHHI,  spoke of an inscription which can be found on the inside lintel of the Mullewa
Priesthouse front door which reads Janus Patet Cor Magi (The door is open, the heart even more), and made the analogy that the door of the Foundation is now open and hopefully our hearts even more.  He went on to say . . . . .
Named after the renowned architect John Cyril Hawes, the Foundation is on a mission to revitalise the region by leveraging its unique built heritage.   We know from existing research that heritage provides a sense of place and identity, and through our Monsignor Hawes Heritage Centre, we also know that Hawes’ work in the region makes an ongoing contribution to the vibrancy of our community and that of the wider Western Australian state through tourism, accommodation, employment and local events that enhance local and wider community wellbeing.

During the event,  MHHI Board Secretary Ann Boyle presented the Foundation’s Strategic Plan to Bishop Michael  Morrissey on behalf of the members of the MHHI Board. 
Guests were invited to socialize with refreshments after the formalities at Laian  Restaurant where many of the attendees took the opportunity to register their interest in being involved in the future of the JHF.