In partnership with the National Trust of Western Australia.
The next time you’re driving along Western Australia’s Coral Coast, make time to stop in at Central Greenough on the ‘Front Flats’ for a surprising glimpse into the state’s colonial past.
Located on Yamatji Country, approximately 25 kilometres south of Geraldton and 380 kilometres north of Perth, the Flats form the flood plains near the Greenough River mouth.
Here is a unique landscape with scatterings of limestone building ruins and leaning trees. Built to support a once-thriving agricultural area, this example of 19th-century colonial expansion saw its population dwindle away due to wheat crop rust, drought and flooding.
The Central Greenough historic site is now managed by the National Trust of Western Australia, and is open to visitors across the year. There is ample caravan parking and a great café run by a local business.
Upon entry, there is an immediate sense of the site’s original role as an administrative centre, with churches, schools, stores, government and law enforcement buildings to explore.
The police were initially stationed at Greenough in 1863 and, later, the first resident magistrate. In 1870, construction of the Greenough Police Station, Lock-up and Courthouse began.
There was a stable for police horses, two outside toilets, and 22-metre deep well in the rear courtyard dug by ticket-of-leave men. The five cells were not used for the long-term housing of prisoners; instead, they were used to transfer prisoners to Geraldton upon conviction.
Moving from room to room provides a hint of the conditions endured by prisoners being held in the temporary cells of a regional centre. The courtroom within the complex later served as a meeting place, the police sergeant’s and schoolteacher’s quarters, a kitchen for preparing prisoners’ meals and, from 1874, a post office.
The cultural heritage value of Central Greenough is well recognised, and the process of conserving and interpreting the settlement and surrounding cultural landscape is an ongoing project of the National Trust. Be sure to drop in on your next caravanning adventure to experience this unique piece of history.
For more information, visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/wa and https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/central-greenough.