Central Greenough receives funding

Central Greenough receives funding

Cultural Heritage Places
Central Greenough

Funding has also been received for Central Greenough on Yamatji Country through the State government’s Asset Maintenance Fund to address conservation work. Staff from our Asset Management team were on site during June to prepare a scope of work and to review proposed new interpretation.

The National Trust has been working with Yamatji Elders to better understand contemporary connections to Central Greenough and the rich Yamatji history of the area This will contribute to a broader cultural landscape management plan for Central Greenough which better reflects the diverse cultural heritage values of the Central Greenough landscape.

Central Greenough on Yamatji Country

Central Greenough is located 25km south of Geraldton and 380km north of Perth on the Brand Highway in the Mid-West Region of Western Australia. It comprises a collection of 19th century buildings including a convent, two churches, two schools, two cottages, a church hall, the Road Board office, a store and a government administration complex that includes courthouse, police station, lock-up and post office. The majority of places within Central Greenough are owned by the National Trust. In addition, the Trust manage a number of other sites on the Greenough Flats including Cliff Grange, Clinch’s Mill, and the former Greenough Hotel.

The Greenough Flats refers to the coastal floodplain of the Greenough River. The fertile land supported the Yamatji people for millennia. The coast was explored in the late 17th century by the Dutch and then surveyed in 1822 by Philip King, with the the first land survey undertaken by George Grey in 1839. Grey named the river ‘Greenough’ and claimed the area could become ‘the granary of Western Australia’. 120 square kilometres of the region which became known as the Flats was surveyed by Augustus Gregory in 1851 and subdivided into 20 and 30 acre lots to encourage the ‘settlement’ of English colonists used to relatively small farm sizes. Within a few years it had developed into a highly successful wheat growing area. Many of these colonists were members of a strong Wesleyan Methodist community.

The Flats developed rapidly between 1857 and 1867 with buildings constructed mostly from local limestone. By 1880 a population of 1200 was supported and schools, churches and other community buildings were established to serve the farming community. However severe weather including a cyclone in the 1870s, major flooding in 1888; followed by a disastrous outbreak of wheat rust affected the area’s prospects. The discovery of gold in the late 19th century exacerbated the decline and abandonment of Central Greenough and by 1900 the majority of the ‘settler’ population had left the area.

The 20th century brought a decline in religious practice and schools, the police complex, churches and the convent were closed shortly after World War II. Today only the Anglican and Catholic churches in Central Greenough remain with active membership. The heritage values of the area were recognised, however, in the mid to late 1960s and in the 1970s by a fledgling National Trust, led by architect and planner Margaret Feilman who carried out a survey of the region’s heritage places. Many places were gifted to the Trust during this time including most of Central Greenough (known then as the ‘Greenough Hamlet’) as well as a range of nearby places including Clinch’s Mill, Greenough Hotel, Cliff Grange, Gray’s Store, the Wesleyan Methodist Church, Temperance Lodge and St James’ Anglican Church. Negotiations for preservation of the entire, largely abandoned, historic settlement – Greenough – began around 1973 with the first buildings vested in the Trust in 1975.

Central Greenough is Place Number 1137 on the State Register of Heritage Places [Central Greenough Front Flats (Historic Hamlet Conservation Area)].

The Historic Greenough District Conservation Masterplan (1995) by Palassis Architects describes the principle cultural significance of the historic district:

It is aesthetically significant as a collection of distinctive and recognisable landscapes with readily identifiable vegetation and man-made structures largely unspoilt by new development or other intrusions.

Historically it demonstrates both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal land use. Much of the land use pattern is unaltered or similar to when the place was at its functional and social peak in the 19th century.

It is socially significant as the former civic and social, religious and recreational centre for the district.

It exhibits rare features in particular the collection of built structures that form the Central Greenough historic precinct.

It is representative of a landscape centred around a riverine and agricultural environment, the land of use which demonstrates the pattern of both Aboriginal and non Aboriginal people.

It is hoped that the ethnographic survey will contribute to a review of this Statement of Significance.

Join the National Trust Community
Subscribe now
Follow Us On
Back to Top of the page.