St Joseph’s Church – Perenjori
The first designs for this church were submitted by Hawes in 1917 when he was relatively new to the Diocese after travelling to the town by the Wongan Hills to Mullewa railway line to meet the people of Perenjori.
The church that was designed at this time was never built. In 1936 he drew a second set of plans for the now growing district. It was designed to seat 90 people in the nave and a further 24 in the gallery but was later amended to seat 150. Mr T P Crothers, who had worked on St Francis Xavier Cathedral and Our Lady of Ara Coeli in Northampton was hired to build the church.
The foundation stone was laid by Bishop O’Collins in June 1937 and the official opening occurred in December 1937.
The building looks tall, thin and white surrounded by the bush and agricultural land. It has a corrugated iron roof and a clerestory of round windows which look like little portholes. St Joseph’s is considered today a unique and remarkable example of the modernist style of architecture that Hawes refined during the 1930’s. His design for the interior was heavily influenced by the book by Fr Benedict Williamson, ‘How to Build a Church’. The neo-Egyptian stone baldachino was inspired by Fr Williamson’s illustrations.
As well as being flooded on 2 occasions in 1971 and 1989, St Joseph's was damaged by Cyclone Seroja in April 2021. Repairs and conservation works were carried our in 2022/2023.
The church was re-opened with a Vigil Mass and celebration on November 4th 2023. Mass was concelebrated by Bishop Michael Morrissey, Fr Robert Cross (Heritage Director), Fr Robert O'Bryan (Parish Priest), Fr Gerard Tontanes (Vicar General) and Fr Steve Casey (Dongara Parish Priest).
Play the Audio Tour
Visiting the building
The Church is located on the Cnr of Carnamah-Perenjori and Old Wells Rds Perenjori.
A key to the building as well as information about the Hawes Heritage Trail can be obtained at the Perenjori Visitors Centre at 18 Fowler St (July-October) during opening hours (Monday - Friday 9am - 4pm Saturday & Sunday 9am - 1pm) or at the Perenjori Post Office when the Visitors Centre is closed. Further information - contact Paddy King on 0427 734033.
Vigil Mass is celebrated at 4 p.m. on the Saturday preceding the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month.