Saturday, 3 September 2016
"The new centre provides an important heritage tourism asset which will allow the Monsignor Hawes story to be told and celebrated," Mr Barnett said.
The Premier acknowledged the significant contribution made by historical figure Monsignor John Cyril Hawes in shaping the architecture of the Mid-West region.
"Examples of Monsignor's remarkable architecture can be seen throughout the Mid-West region and this centre will provide an opportunity for people to learn about the man responsible for these buildings," he said.
Housed in the centre will be a diverse collection of artefacts including original architectural plans, models, sketches, artisanal objects and memorabilia which will provide an insight into the life and work of Monsignor Hawes. It will also feature a cafe and is complemented by a plaza which will provide public open space to be enjoyed by the whole community.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the centre was a significant addition to the region's heritage tourism assets that would boost Geraldton's status as a heritage destination.
"The centre will serve as an interpretive gateway and hub to encourage visitors to the region to discover the 23 Monsignor Hawes buildings located throughout the Mid-West," Mr Redman said.
"A share of proceeds from the centre will be used to support promotion, improvements and marketing of other Monsignor Hawes buildings in other Mid-West towns."
It is expected the centre will attract between 15,000 and 20,000 visitors each year and provide a starting point for the Monsignor Hawes Heritage Trail.
The official opening of the centre coincides with the 100-year anniversary of the start of construction of the St Francis Xavier Cathedral, which was designed by John Hawes and is often described as one of the most unique cathedrals in Australia.
The Monsignor Hawes Heritage Centre is made possible by a $1.54 million contribution from the Liberal National Government's Royalties for Regions program and $651,038 from Lotterywest, with the remaining funding provided by significant contributions from the Roman Catholic Diocese and community fundraising efforts.
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