Trailing Monsignor Hawes

 "John Paul II and the Angel"
"Perenjori Holy Water"
Western Australia's wheatbelt is perhaps the last place you'd look for significant Catholic architecture. However, for 24 years from 1915 British architect-priest Monisgnor John Hawes designed and built 15 churches and a handful of other ecclessiastical buildings among the wheat silos and paddocks of Merino sheep in the Mid-West region.

Three hundred and fourty eight kilometres north of Perth, the Church of St Joseph in the town of Perenjori is the geographical start to what is known as the "Monsignor Hawes Trail". I'm not sure this simple, white church is anything other than a tourist attraction these days ... I had to hunt down a key from a local shop-keeper when I visited in 2002.

The religious artifacts certainly speak of neglect, as you can see in the above images. Pope John Paul II, torn from his frame and sitting next to a paper mache angel is poignant, while I can't help but smirk everytime I see the label "Perenjori holy water" on what looks like a sherry flagon.

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