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Greenough, WA

Beautifully preserved National Trust historic rural settlement

Greenough is one of the country's best preserved nineteenth century towns. At the heart of the town is a collection of eleven buildings including the gaol, courthouse, police station, churches, and a school. The site is administered by the National Trust and there are guided tours of the village although it is possible to get a map and explore at your leisure. Beyond this National Trust area lie the ruins of the Wesley Church, the gracious old Grays Store, Clinch's Mill and the Greenough Hotel. The companion settlement of Walkaway is just up the road. The appeal of Greenough lies in its careful preservation. Realistically it is now a ghost town yet in the churches, court house and police station there is an indication that the town was built to last for centuries. In his novel The Merry-go-Round in the Sea Geraldton-born novelist Randolph Stow describes Greenough as he knew it as a child: "And on the Greenough Flats were big houses, a two-storied barracks that had quartered the soldiers who protected the first settlers against the blacks, a two-storied corn chandlers', a solid-looking church which suddenly, startlingly, disgorged a full congregation of sheep. The Greenough was full of ruins and history and agreeable reminders of the world's vanity."


Greenough is located 24 km south of Geraldton and 390 km north of Perth via Jurien Bay and Dongara.


Origin of Name

The valley where Greenough now stands was first explored by George Grey in 1839. Grey named the area after his sponsor Sir George Bellas Greenough, the then president of the Royal Geographical Society.


Things to See and Do

Greenough/Walkaway Heritage Trail
In 1988, as part of the Bicentennial, a booklet was published titled the Greenough / Walkaway Heritage Trail: Settlement of the Greenough River Flats.  It identified a total of 36 buildings in the area including the Pioneer Cemetery, Clinch's Mill (built in 1858 it continued to operate until 1922 and at its peak became an important supplier of flour to the Murchison gold fields), the elegant ruins of the Wesley Church, Gray's Store (constructed with convict labour in 1861), the Hampton Arms Inn (the first hotel in the area it was built in 1863 by Robert Pearson) which had a beautifully decorated ballroom, and the buildings of the National Trust controlled Greenough Hamlet.
Although the booklet is no longer for sale the Heritage Trail has persisted and it is now listed as a 57 km drive which starts at the Pioneer Museum and includes 24 places of interest in the area. Each location has an explanatory sign. For the map check out https://www.centralgreenough.com/see-play-and-stay.
The list includes:

1. Pioneer Museum
Located at 11 Philips Road, the Pioneer Museum, originally known as Home Cottage and built for the miller John Maley by convicts from Port Gregory in 1862, is now an interactive folk museum concentrating on the agricultural history of the area with exhibits which include curios of family life, a double dunny, an old leaning gum tree and an excellent garden with vegetables, fruit and herbs. It is administered by the Geraldton Historical Society. There is a detailed description of the building at the Greater Geraldton Municipal Inventory of Heritage Places. Check out https://www.cgg.wa.gov.au/Profiles/cgg/Assets/ClientData/Document-Centre/Planning/Heritage/Greenough/Greenough_Heritage_Place_Number-16-MCH126746.pdf. It notes: "The house was built in several stages, the first of which was a single storey cottage at the front, followed by a separate kitchen wing and cellar which were connected to the front cottage by a 2nd storey section at the corner to complete an ‘L’ shape floor plan as seen today. The residence has sections of natural stone walls as well as some lime washed and rendered areas. The roof is hipped, corrugated iron with little or no overhang to protect the walls. Some areas of roof were originally shingled and sheeted over whilst they are timber boarded on the underside to form ceilings ... The place has considerable aesthetic value given its attractive setting in walled gardens, its large scale and prominent location on the Greenough Flats. Further, it is evidence of how buildings have been extended from small, simple cottages to large, grand residences." The museum is open every day from 8.30 am - 3.00 pm, tel: (08) 9926 1890 or check out https://greenoughmuseum.wordpress.com.

2. Maley Mill and Store Archive
Part of the Pioneer Museum is the Maley Mill and Store Archives which offer a unique view of business as it was carried out in the mid-nineteenth century. The website explains: "The Maley archive was created by the businesses that were operated by the regional entrepreneur John Maley, whose significance has long been recognised. The archive has several constituent parts including individual handwritten orders and letters, promissory notes and receipts from residents, formal financial records that include single and double entry book-keeping, and a set of contra accounts to show the relationships between individuals who were both creditors and debtors. In addition the Greenough Museum & Gardens holds diaries written by Maley’s accountant/book-keeper William Brasher, a number of documents relating to individual convicts and ticket of leave men, a letter about the construction of the local heritage listed, convict built bridge, and one of only two known contemporary watercolours depicting an eyewitness view of the Greenough Flood of 1888." Check out https://greenoughmuseum.wordpress.com/the-maley-mill-store-archives for more detailed information.

3. Rock of Ages
This Bed and Breakfast destination (it can be booked - check out http://www.rockofages.com.au) in Phillips Road is a charming cottage that was built by ticket-of-leave convicts in 1857. It has won awards for its careful restoration.

4. Corringle
Located on the Brand Highway and listed by the State Heritage Council, Corringle was built in 1898. The City of Geraldton inventory of historic places notes: "The simple rectangular plan of the two storey building is surrounded on three sides by verandas and balconies. The rear, fourth side of the house is plain stone over its 2 storey height, has no veranda, has very little roof overhang and is only punctuated by the window onto the internal stairwell. The veranda roof is attached at the wall below the eaves of the main roof which is a hipped ‘M’ shape configuration clad with aluminium tiles capped with a decorative filigree ridge. Chimneys are tuck-pointed brickwork with rendered mouldings. There are tall double hung windows or pairs of French doors opening from rooms onto the veranda and balcony. The front entry door features stained glass to side and high lights and opens onto the veranda above a sweeping half flight of stairs." Check https://www.cgg.wa.gov.au/Profiles/cgg/Assets/ClientData/Document-Centre/Planning/Heritage/Greenough/Greenough_Heritage_Place_Number-9-MCH126728.pdf for more information.

5. Central Greenough Cemetery
Located about 300 metres off the Brand Highway, the Greenough Pioneer Cemetery was used between 1853-1981 and has been classified by the National Trust. It has been carefully restored. The Find a Grave website (https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/2423105/greenough-pioneer-cemetery) notes that some of the interesting graves include: "The first recorded burial was in 1853 and since then many of the regions pioneers have been buried here. Amongst these are: the Clarkson brothers, cattle drovers of the 1870s who were found dead at Hooleys Well, one having perished and one speared by natives. Mrs Anne Connolly who was the first woman to take up land on the Front Flats in her own right. A young man named Walters who was shot at Ellendale, believed to be the first murder in the region."

6. Clinch's Mill
Located at 9 Gregory Road, Clinch's Mill is a late 19th century mill complex which was built in a Victorian Georgian style and is believed to be the first purpose built roller mill in Western Australia. It was the first flour mill to operate in Greenough. The State Heritage Office listing notes that it is "A three storey building built of limestone with brick quoining and with an iron roof. It has a single storey boiler house attached. It was the first flour mill in the district built by Walter Padbury and extended by Thomas Church in the 1880s. It is still one of the most imposing structures in the front flats." See http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/Details/72073f90-24cb-4fa2-8c02-fafa2e0b1a9e for more information.

7. Cliff Grange
Located at 11 Gregory Road, Cliff Grange was built in the 1850s as the residence of the Clinch's Mill manager. It is currently owned by the National Trust who describe the building as "a single storey late nineteenth century former residence, is a single storey limestone walled and iron roofed house with a cellar. It forms part of a complex of historic Greenough buildings built by Walter Padbury. It has been vacant for many years." For more information check https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Cliff-Grange-.pdf.

8. Bridge Cottage
Located on McCartney Road, Bridge Cottage was constructed in 1864 by ticket-of-leave convicts and used as an office while Maley's Bridge was being completed. It is listed by the Western Australian State Heritage Office. The Geraldton Heritage site notes that it: "is a small and simple two-roomed stone building with a steeply pitched gable corrugated iron roof. There is a separate verandah to the front (north) elevation and the rear lean-to is enclosed with corrugated iron and fibro cladding. A small corrugated iron extension to the east accommodates the kitchen. The cottage has timber framed casement windows." 

9. Maley's Bridge
Located on McCartney Road, Maley's Bridge was constructed by convict labour in 1864. It was seriously damaged by the 2006 flood caused by Cyclone Clare. Built of limestone and timber, and one of the oldest bridges in the state, it was reopened in 2010 after $1.23 million was spent restoring it.

10. Wesley Church
The National Trust notes: "The foundation stone for this Gothic style church was laid in 1867. It was built of limestone by ticket-of-leave convict labour and opened for worship in 1870. Many of Greenough's early settlers were members of the strong Wesleyan community led by the Waldecks, who lived at nearby Mount Pleasant."

11. Gray's Store
Located on the corner of Company Road and McCartney Road and owned by the National Trust, Gray's Store is a late 19th century building with rubble limestone walls, wooden floors and a timber shingle roof. It is important because it is one of the few remaining stores from the era in Western Australia and "The scale of the building expresses the optimism that early settlers held for the economic prosperity of the region and its siting is evidence of the initial moves to establish a township on Company Road; The masonry is an outstanding example of the quality of building work that was being produced in the colony during the years that convict labour was available. The external and internal form of the building is evidence of an early phase in the development of Australian architecture during which European influences were dominant." For more information check out https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Grays-Store.pdf.

13. Temperance Lodge
The ruins of the Temperance Lodge are located 300 metres south east of Gray's Store on Company Road. The Temperance Lodge has been the subject of academic research in recent years with the ABC reporting "Digging through the soil under the roofless building, the team located remnants of the building's old floorboards and searched for items that had slipped between the cracks ...Research suggests the lodge was linked to the Temperance Movement after one of Henry Gray's sons, Charles, introduced it to the Greenough community following a business trip to Melbourne. The movement swept through the colonial world in the 19th century as an ideological solution to try to curb drunkenness. Ms Hetherington said research suggested Greenough was the first location in WA to introduce the more strict form of the movement, which required total abstinence of alcohol." For more information check out https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-22/unearthing-wa-history-greenough-archaeology/7653922.

15. The Hampton Arms Inn
In 2001 the Western Australian Minister for Environment and Heritage, issued the following press release: "The Hampton Arms, the first hotel to be built in the Mid-West's Greenough district, has been listed on the State's Register of Heritage Places. The hotel, which still functions as a licensed inn and restaurant, has been lovingly restored for the past 16 years by owners Judy and Brian Turnock. The Hampton Arms is one of only a handful of colonial hotels to survive to the present day.
"What makes it even more rare is that it is still operating as a hotel. It is also important as a surviving remnant of the town of Hampton, which was established in 1862, not long after the Greenough Front Flats. As the district's first hotel, it was a focal point for Greenough settlers for social gatherings, balls and political meetings. It also provided shelter during times of flooding when settlers on the western side of the Greenough River were cut off from settlement on the eastern side.
"The two-storey stone and iron building, which had single-storey wings each side of the main section and a stone stable block, is an excellent example of the Victorian Regency style. Unlike other surviving buildings which once functioned as inns, the Hampton Arms was a purpose-built hotel.  Francis Pearson, who designed the first smelter in Western Australia and was a key figure in the early settlement of the Mid-West, built the hotel in 1863 with his two sons.
"The Hampton Arms was officially opened on May 1,1863 and named after John Hampton, Governor of the day. The district's first ploughing match was held in 1868, adjacent to the hotel and for several decades it was a centre of social life. However, hard times and economic developments began to affect conditions in the area. By the 1870s a series of droughts, floods and fires had reduced the cropping capabilities of the region, which had been important in supplying the colony with much needed flour supplies. A disastrous flood in 1888 further reduced the area's profitability and population and when the Midland to Walkaway railway line was completed in 1894, road traffic along the Perth-Geraldton road decreased. The combination of these events led to a decline in patronage of the Hampton Arms and eventually it closed in the 1890s. The building was used as farmhouse and gradually deteriorated until it was bought in 1978 by Alistair and Robin McKechnie, who began restoration work. They opened a restaurant in 1979 and completed work on the ballroom in 1981, subsequently being granted the first Historic Inn licence in WA.
"The Hampton Arms was Classified by the National Trust in 1977 and placed on the Register of the National Estate in 1978. It was placed on the Shire of Greenough's historic buildings list in 1984 and included in its Municipal Inventory in 1998."

17. Central Greenough Historic Settlement
The Greenough Front Flats were first settled in 1852 and within a few years had developed into a highly successful wheat growing area. The people who settled in the area were poor (some were ex-convicts from the Labour Depot at Port Gregory) and many of the farms were prepared for sowing with nothing more than a shovel. Sowing was commonly done by hand and the wheat was harvested with a sickle.
The buildings of Central Greenough were constructed between 1863 and 1913. They were usually made from either local limestone or mud bricks. Entrance is through the Visitor Centre and Cafe and there is a brochure which describes the eleven buildings in the complex:
Of particular interest are:
1. Greenough Store – now the Visitor Centre and Cafe
The store was completed in 1866 and operated until 1936 when it became a private residence. By the 1960s it was a ruin. In 1975 the National Trust started to restore it.
2. Greenough School
The school was constructed in 1865 and during its life it was used as a school, a community hall and as the Anglican Church.
3. Police Station and Gaol
The police arrived in Greenough in 1863 but the Police Station complex comprising cells, a room for court proceedings, accommodation for the police, stables for the horses and a well, was not built until 1870.
4. St Catherine’s Church
This church dates from 1913. It replaced an earlier building which dated from 1892.
5. Road Board Office
The Road Board office was built in 1906 and continued to operate until 1952.
6. St Catherine’s Hall
The hall was constructed in 1898. It had been planned in 1893 but the funds could not be raised. It became a popular village meeting place and a porch was added in 1901. By the 1930s it was being used as a school.
7. Hackett’s Cottage
Ned Hackett was the local storekeeper. He was also a carpenter, the local undertaker, a blacksmith and a cobbler. He built the cottage after the flood of 1888.
8. Presbytery
The building, constructed in 1900, was the residence of the local priest for over 30 years. The last priest to use it was Monsignor John Hawes, the famous wheatbelt architect. Some time after his departure the building was used as a boarding school for boys.
9. Goodwin’s Cottage
A retired policeman named Ned Goodwin lived in this cottage until his death in 1912. It was built by the Catholic Church who resumed ownership and used it as a school.
10. St Peter’s Church
Built as a replacement for an earlier building which was destroyed by the 1888 flood, this church was designed and built by W. Martin. It was consecrated in 1908.
11. Presentation Convent
Built in 1908 for an order of Dominican Sisters it was taken over in 1901 by the Presentation Sisters who ran the building as a boarding school for boys. It became a private residence in 1951 and was taken over by the National Trust in 1975.

18. Belay Farm
Located on Evans Road, Belay Farm was established by former stonemason John Jones, who constructed the original buildings. The farm was worked by three generations of the Jones family from 1858 to 1971.

19. Walkaway Station Museum
Located 13 km south-east of Greenough at Padbury Road, Walkaway, the Walkaway Station building was completed in 1887 and closed in 1966. Designed by George Temple Poole and built in 1886, Walkaway Station was originally the same pattern as the Claremont Railway Station also designed by Poole and built in 1886. Prior to alterations and additions, the two stations were almost identical. Both structures derive from the Federation Arts and Craft style of architecture.
The buildings are part of a railway precinct, which includes the station, platform, goods shed, track levers, ramp, wishing well, weighbridge, cabin and loading ramp. The station is one the State's earliest Government-built railway complexes and the terminus for Western Australia's only privately owned passenger carrier. It now houses the Walkaway Station Museum with exhibits which offer insights into regional transportation and education which will fascinate rail enthusiasts and people interested in the history of the area. The website explains that "There are documents and memorabilia relating to the history of the Midland Railway Company. The museum also has records of local burials, family histories and photographs and other social history from the Walkaway area and surroundings. In the grounds there is an old locomotive called B6, the only one of its type left in the world. The new Goods Shed houses restored rolling stock – Steam Loco O218, and a restored Carriage." For more information check out https://www.walkawaymuseum.org.au or tel: (08) 9926 1976. It is open Tuesday to Friday from 10.00 am - 4.00 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 1.00 pm - 4.00 pm. It is closed during the summer months.


Other Attractions in the Area

The Leaning Trees
The region around Greenough and Walkaway is characterised by a species of river red gums which have been bent almost parallel to the ground in an attempt to escape the salt and the wind blowing off the Indian Ocean. Most of the trees are on private property. The area does lie in the lee of a range of sand dunes which protect it from the worst of these winds.

Located 13 km south-east of Greenough is the tiny settlement of Walkaway with its railway station, store, hall, school and church. The naming of the town has suitable folk lore attached. Some sources claim that Walkaway was named when an Aborigine reported that one of the early European settlers, disappointed in his wheat crop, had 'waggaway'. Known as Wagawa for many years the name was finally Anglicised to Walkaway. Another source points out that the local Aboriginal name for the bend in the Greenough River was 'Wagga Wah'.

Greenough Wildlife and Bird Park
Located at 449 Company Road and open from 10.00 am - 4.00 pm (except Wednesdays) this privately run and owned park specialises in Australian animals. Expect to see kangaroos, dingoes, Douglas the crocodile, emus, lizards, snakes. It specialises in rescuing and rehabilitating local wildlife. Check https://www.greenoughwildlifepark.com/ or tel: (08) 9926 1171.

Wind Farm
Located 23 km east of Greenough and 7 km from Walkaway on the Nangetty-Walkaway Road, the Alinta Wind Farm comprises 54 turbines. The towers are 80 metres high and the rotor diameter is 82 metres. They are capable of providing electricity for 64,000 homes. The project became fully operational in 2006 and Alinta explain the location in terms of "The area surrounding Geraldton is one of the windiest regions in Australia. Wind speeds average 20-25 km/h during the cooler months and 25-35 km/h from October to March; a result of the strong seasonal sea breeze coupled with a consistent easterly breeze in the morning – perfect ingredients for wind power." For more information check out https://www.infigenenergy.com/alinta.



* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was inhabited by the Yamatji and Amangu Aboriginal people.

* The valley where Greenough now stands was first explored by George Grey in 1839.

* In 1851 the explorer A. C. Gregory surveyed 30,000 acres (120 square kilometres) of land which was subsequently broken up into 20 and 30 acre lots. At the time it was the northern-most settlement in Western Australia.

* The Greenough Front Flats were first settled in 1852 and within a few years had developed into a highly successful wheat growing area.

* In 1852 Clinch's flour mill opened for business.

* In 1857 the area was divided into small farms.

* A school was opened in 1860.

* By 1861 Gray's Store had been established.

* The Hampton Arms was completed in 1863.

* A police station was built by convicts between 1863-1868.

* It wasn't until the 1870s that residences began to be built in stone.

* A cyclone caused enormous damage in 1872

* The area experienced bad flooding in 1888 and the wheat crops was adversely affected by red rust.

* By 1900 most of the settlers had either left the area of given up wheat farming for grazing.

* During the 1930s many houses were demolished and the stone crushed and used on local roads.

* In 1966 the Geraldton Historical Society opened a local museum.

* Restoration of the village started in the 1960s.

* By 1979 the Greenough hamlet was open to the public.

* In 2006 the village experienced a serious flood which damaged Maley's bridge.

* Maley's mill and store were severely damaged by fire in 2013.

* Today Central Greenough is one of the premier historic attractions of the Central West.


Visitor Information

Central Greenough Historic Settlement Cafe and Visitor Centre, tel: (08) 9926 1084. Open Monday to Saturday 9.00 am - 4.00 pm and Sunday 8.00 am - 4.00 pm.


Useful Websites

There are two useful websites. The National Trust has https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/places/central-greenough and the Central Greenough Cafe and Visitor Centre can be accessed at https://www.centralgreenough.com.

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