Saint Mary’s in Ara Coeli – Northampton

Historical Sites and Heritage Locations

The Church of St Mary of Ara Coeli in Northampton, 50 kilometres north of Geraldton, is the largest parish church designed by Hawes. The foundation stone was laid by Bishop O’Collins in May 1936 and the building was opened in September of the same year.

The Parish Priest of Northampton at the time was Dean Irwin and he insisted that a new church be built, as opposed to renovating the old one. He also insisted on it being Gothic in style. Hawes conceded in his speech at the opening ceremony that he had thought Irwin obstinate as he had rejected Hawes’ earlier designs, but that he could now see that he was right. Hawes believed that it was ‘the finest and most impressive church in the Diocese’.

The building was constructed of rough hammer-dressed red sandstone donated by Mrs Williams of Willow Gully with a green-tiled roof. It was built by Mr T P Crothers who had been responsible for the building of the third stage of St Francis Xavier Cathedral.