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CALENDAR OF EVENTS
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Central Greenough Historic Settlement, once abandoned, is a charming example of an early colonial settlement. Restoration started in the 1960s and the Hamlet was opened in 1979. A small entry fee is charged and a guided tour is included.
The hamlet includes an Anglican and a Catholic church, Gray's store, court house, gaol, convent, school, stables, well, Road Board office and a number of houses.
One of the more unusual features of the area are the 'leaning trees' which have grown almost horizontal with the ground as a result of the continuous winds blowing in from the ocean.
Buildings at Central Greenough
Completed in 1866 and used as a store until 1936 when it became a private residence. It was abandoned and by the 1960s was little more than a ruin. In 1975 the National Trust began restoration and visitors to the site in the early days will remember it as the entry and tea rooms. In 2002 a new entry station and tea room was constructed.
Constructed in 1865 by William Trigg. It has also been used as an Anglican church and a community hall.
Police Station / Gaol
This building dates from 1870 although police were stationed in the town 7 years before construction began. The complex includes cells, a court room and accommodation.
There are also stables at the rear of the building and a water well was dug to a depth of 22 metres.
The local road board used it for meetings and for some time it was also used as a post office.
St. Catherine's church
An Anglican church that dates from 1913. An earlier Anglican church was constructed in 1892 but this building took over the function once it had been built.
Road Board office
Built in 1906, this building was used for road board meetings until 1952. The name 'road board' may sound impressive but apparently there was only one staff member for most of the time this building was used.
St. Catherine's Hall
The hall was constructed in 1898, 5 years after the plans had originally been drawn up and land donated. The reason for the delay was a lack of funds for construction.
The hall was the centre of local festivities and meetings. The porch was added in 1901.
During the 1930s the building was used as a school and is still used for social functions today.
Built for store-keeper Ned Hackett shortly after a major flood in 1888.
Ned acted as not just the store-keeper but also blacksmith, cobbler, carpenter and undertaker. The building has been modified and the most extensive renovations were done in the 1960s.
The store that used to stand next door was destroyed by fire.
Built by Mr. Bennett in 1900 this was to be the residence of the local priest for 30 years. The last resident priest was Monsignor John Hawes. Later the building was used to house boys from the local boarding school.
Built by the Catholic church in 1890 for a retired policeman named Ned Goodwin. He lived there with his wife until he died in 1912 when it reverted back to the church.
After demolishing an internal wall it was used as a school until 1958.
St. Peter's church
A Catholic church that was designed and built by W. Martin in 1908. An earlier church had been destroyed by the 1888 flood.
Used to house a group of Dominican Sisters from New Zealand this building was completed in 1898. They moved to Dongara in 1901.
The Presentation Sisters then took over the building and ran a boarding school for boys.
In 1951 the building was bought by the O'Brien family who lived there until it was purchased by the National Trust.
Wind farms are becoming a popular alternative way of generating power but they are not universally popular. This particular wind farm is located a few
kilometres from Walkaway and with 54 turbines is the largest (so far) in Western Australia. There is a parking and viewing area near the wind farm
and toilet facilities are available.
The leaning trees of the Greenough flats have been an item of interest since they were first sighted.
The trees are a species of river gum and have grown in a most extraordinary way due to the constant strong winds.
Most of the trees are on private property (which actually helps to protect them) but there is a viewing area on the west side of the highway where
you can stop and take pictures.
Exploration of this area dates back to 1839 when George Grey
led a party north from the Swan River.
The name Greenough was given to a small river which Grey crossed which was named after
George Bellas Greenough
who was President of the Royal Geographical Society.
In 1848 Augustus Gregory
led an expedition of settlers to the region and Thomas Brown (father of Maitland Brown
) was the first to take up land. He was followed by William Burges, George Shenton and
(One source says Logan and Hamersley first took up land in the area in 1854.)
Early settlers to the Greenough region came north from the Swan River Colony (Perth). Initial reports described the area as having good
soils and there were high expectations for grain farming.
Settlement was aided by the introduction of convict labour and many of the buildings which stand today were built by the convicts. In 1859 a stone
causeway was built across the river which made transport easier.
By 1860 there were three flour mills in the district. The first school opened in 1861 and Francis Watson Pearson built the first hotel in 1863. Two years
later a bridge was built across Greenough River.
A police presence was established in 1863 and Maitland Brown was appointed Resident Magistrate in 1865. The first court proceedings were held in a
barn but by 1870 work on a court house and police station had begun. In 1874 a post office and telegraph office were established and the area seemed to be prospering. By 1875 there were no less than 6 schools in the area catering for 141 students. The schools in this district had some of the worst attendance records in the state. Many children had to walk several miles to get to school and if labour was in short supply on the farms then work came first and school missed out.
Lack of nutrients in the soil and diseases that affected the wheat crops were followed by a devastating floods and fires. Problems started as early as
1862 but by the late 1880s things were getting so bad that many people simply abandoned the area.
The railway arrived in the area in 1887 and hopes were raised but in 1888 the worst flood to hit the area in the history of the town caused a great deal
of devastation. At least 4 people died in the floods and crops and stock losses combined with damage to buildings and fences was the last straw for many settlers.
The following report of the flood is from The Inquirer and Commercial News Wednesday February 8th 1888:
"THE FLOOD AT THE GREENOUGH.
The following telegram, giving further particulars of the terrible Greenough disaster, reached us last night from our correspondent at that ill fated portion of the colony:
GREENOUGH, Monday morning, 9 o'clock. THE COUNTRY UNDER WATER.
The Flats are inundated, causing serious losses to life and property. REPORT OF THE POLICE. On Friday, about 9 p.m the Police brought news to the Hampton hotel that the river was coming down, and it soon afterwards overflowed.
WARNING THE SETTLERS. At Walkaway Messrs. Moore, Joshua Waldeck, and John Morrell warned the surrounding settlers of the impending danger, the news of which caused wide- spread consternation, and in a very short space of time the Flats were inundated, with wonderful force and rapidity.
A HOUSE IN A HOLLOW FILLED WITH WATER ??? AN OLD SETTLER DROWNED. Mr. and Mrs. Bridgeman occupied a house that was situated in a hollow, nearly behind the Parsonage. Their daughter in law, with a child and grown-up daughter, were visiting their house, which was soon filled with water.
ATTEMPTING TO RESCUE THE PERISHING ??? MRS. BRIDGEMAN DROWNED. On Saturday morning several brave attempts were made to rescue the occupants of Mr. Bridgeman's house, by Messrs. Moore, Morrell, E. Gray, T. Henry, a Malay and others. The Malay succeeded in getting the younger people upon the roof, but it was shortly-afterwards discovered that Mrs. Bridgeman had been drowned about two hours previously.
A NARROW ESCAPE??? AN OLD MAN RESCUED THROUGH THE ROOF. Mr. Moore reached Bridgeman's house on a door, nearly losing his life in the attempt. After obtaining a secure footing he wrenched off a sheet of iron and got Mr. Bridgeman through the opening. Here they all remained until a float, which was constructed at the Hampton hotel - consisting of a sheep trough and two barrels lashed each side - rescued them, at about 4 p.m. The remains of Mrs. Bidgeman have not yet been discovered.
PEOPLE MISSING??? A WOMAN IN A FIELD WHEN THE WATER CAME DOWN. A man named Cole, working for and living on Mrs. Duncan's estate, together with his wife, have not been heard of since Friday night, when Mr Joshua Waldeck thought he heard Cole say that his wife was in the field, which was then overflowed with water, owing to which he could not render any assistance.
A SETTLER THROWN FROM A HORSE INTO THE WATER AND DROWNED - A WIDOW AND EIGHT FATHERLESS CHILDREN. Mr. William Bone, on horseback, was struggling through the water, near the Police Station, when his horse stumbled in a hole and threw him into the flood. The poor fellow, was seen to clutch his hat, and nothing more was seen until the body was found at nine o'clock this morning. Deceased leaves a widow and eight children.
FURTHER DISASTERS. The water carried away a large number of fences, telegraph poles, cattle, sheep, etc, and did damage beyond describing in the short space of a telegram.
SHELTERING THE HOMELESS. A large number of families were either sheltered by friends or camped on the sandhills. Some have lost their all, and the whole community has suffered to a greater or lesser extent. A number of wheat houses have been destroyed; the horses and cattle must have suffered terribly.
MR. MAITLAND BROWN AND INSPECTOR ROWE ATTENDING THE SUFFERING??? KINDNESS OF THE GERALDTONIANS. Immediately on receipt of news notifying the flooding of the district Mr. Maitland Brown, Resident Magistrate of the district, accompanied by Inspector Rowe, left Geraldton for here, and on arrival worked with unflagging zeal to do all in their power to rescue those in danger, carrying provisions to some and despatching boats to others. A number of other townspeople of Geraldton also rendered valuable assistance.
THE PRESENT CONDITION OF THE COUNTRY. South Greenough is still under water, and it is probable that it will remain so for some weeks."
The lack of cash led to a barter system being established for a time with promissory notes being used in exchange for goods at the local stores.
In 1888 a drover named Thomas Summers Gorman reported finding corundum near the Greenough River. This is the second hardest substance after diamonds
and he claimed that it was always found in areas where diamonds were located. He attempted to get investors interested but the scheme came to nothing and
no diamonds were ever found.
Some buildings were destroyed during the years of the Great Depression when their stone was crushed and used to help make roads in the area. Despite the
loss of these buildings many others survived and a number have been restored.
TALL TALES AND TRUE
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McNeece Cottage, Corringle, Museum, Cemetery, Wesley Church, Gray?s Store, Greenough River, Southgates, Flat Rocks, Walkaway railway museum.
BUILDINGS OF NOTE
Central Greenough Historic Settlement, McNeece's cottage 1857, Old Walkaway cottage, Bell cottage c1860, Greenough farmers club hall 1860s, St. James church 1873, Former Criddle's hotel 1868, Cliff Grange 1858, Clinch's mill 1860s, Former Hampton Arms hotel 1864, Mt. Pleasant farmhouse 1860s, Raphoe farmhouse 1860s, Rock house ruin 1860s, Three bottle farmhouse 1860, Delowe's cottage 1860s, Grey's store 1861, Maley's bridge 1864, Wesley church 1867.
Please note that some of the historic buildings are private property and not available for public inspection.
State : Greenough
Federal : Durack
Postcode : 6352
Local Government : City of Greater Geraldton
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