Historical Towns Directory

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 Greenough

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The first European to investigate the Greenough Flats was George Grey, who had been shipwrecked at Shark Bay, and was forced to trek overland back to the site of the main Swan River Colony settlement at Perth. While in the area Grey named the Greenough River in honour of George Greenough, president of the Royal Geographical Society.

In 1851 land in the Greenough Flats was surveyed and subdivided into small farming blocks. The first settlers took up land in the Greenough Front Flats in 1852. The Flats subsequently grew to be a thriving wheat growing region with Central Greenough at the hub of the district's activities.

By 1860 three flour mills were operating on the Flats. Clinch's Mill (1858), constructed by Walter Padbury but later taken over by Thomas Clinch, was the first in the district. The original limestone structure was later extended.

Gray's Store (1861) was built of local limestone using convict labour for merchant and landholder Henry Gray. The one-storey store is attached to a double-storey section. The store later became a dwelling and was then left vacant for 40 years during the 20th century.

The stone and iron, Victorian Regency-style Hampton Arms Hotel became the Greenough district's first hotel when it was constructed in 1863. The building is today a surviving relic of the Hampton township which was established soon after the Greenough Front Flats. The hotel closed in when the district began to slump in the 1890s and was subsequently used as a farmhouse. It was restored and re-opened as a hotel in the 1980s.

The Central Greenough School building, a typical example of an 1860s-70s school building, was constructed in 1865. It replaced an earlier 1861 building. The first school lessons at Greenough took place in a tent near the Hampton Hotel site in 1860s.

In 1867 the former courthouse was constructed. The police station and gaol were added in 1870. The single-storey, limestone complex gained a post and telegraph office in 1873-74. The buildings were used as the district's government administration centre for many years.

The former Wesleyan Methodist Chapel (1867-69) was built for the large Wesleyan community which had settled in the area. The building is now a stabilised ruin.

The Greenough Hotel obtained a licence in 1868 and operated as a hotel for 20 years. It was then purchased by the Clinch family and became known as Mill Farm. The ruin is now owned by the National Trust.

The expanding wheat-growing district, however, was affected by rust in the wheat crops as well as drought. By 1880 the amount of land in the area cultivated for agricultural purposes was beginning to decline. Flooding of the Flats in 1888 resulted in a further drop in the area's crop growing. Mixed farming and grazing were established in the district during the 1890s.

The onset of the 20th century saw Greenough's agricultural importance decline, along with local business and commerce. Little more construction occurred, however a small chapel was replaced by St Peter's Church in 1908 and in 1913 St Catherine's Church was constructed to replace an 1892 structure.

The town entered a period of gradual neglect until the National Trust began to classify and acquire buildings during the 1960s and 1970s.

The small hamlet of Greenough is located 24 kilometres south of Geraldton. Its historic buildings are now popular tourist attractions.

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