“Restless Jo” takes us for a ramble every Monday around the lovely English countryside she calls home and she invites other bloggers to show their part of the world in a walk around their “patch”. Visit her blog to join other walks.
So today I would like to join the cyber rambling club and as today is fine after 5 days of glorious rain it is time to explore more of Geraldton.
Geraldton has changed since I first visited in 2005. Back then it had railway tracks running along the foreshore cutting the beach from the main street. All the shops had their backs to the beach and the trains chugged along taking in the best views as they hauled loads of wheat, minerals and iron ore to the port to be transported all over the world. The town had a rather scruffy and down at heel look about it.
What a transformation has taken place since then. The line has been diverted round the back of the town and the original lines have been taken up and the foreshore rejuvenated with parks and walking paths. I’m sure this must’ve cost a huge sum of money but what a difference it has made to the town. So this is my first walk…
This large welcome sign faces out into the harbour, greeting ships as they arrive.
Outside the museum the flags are fluttering, from left to right, the Aboriginal flag, the Australian flag, and the West Australian flag.
As I round the corner I see 2 giant rubic cubes. Do you remember them?
It is school holiday time and for a while I watch the children enjoying the surf.
Looking back across the park I see the imposing Courthouse, but of more interest now is the Dome Café.
That was a welcome break, now all revived I’ll wander on.
Coming to the end of the foreshore I turn into town. This is the West End and is the original part of Geraldton that was settled in the mid 1800’s.
“The first European to really explore the area was the hapless George Grey who, having failed to explore the North-West Cape was forced to walk from Shark Bay back to Fremantle in 1839.
A decade later the explorer A. C. Gregory travelled through the area. He discovered lead on the Murchison River and the mine which was subsequently established was named Geraldine after the Governor Charles Fitzgerald.
The town of Geraldton was gazetted in 1850. In the years that followed the hinterland was settled by farmers and in 1857, after the closure of the unsuccessful Convict Depot at Port Gregory, Geraldton became a short lived convict settlement. In the 1860s, after the decline of Port Gregory, it became the major port north of Fremantle and in 1871 it was officially proclaimed a town.
It was during the time after 1850 that the local Aboriginal population, which was estimated at over 1000 between Dongara and Geraldton, was virtually wiped out. Massacres and diseases were the killers. It is known that nearly 300 Aborigines died at Tibradden Station in 1853 as the result of an outbreak of measles.
In 1879 the Western Australian government built a railway between Geraldton and Northampton.
The town’s major period of growth occurred in the 1890s when it became the major port for the Murchison gold rushes. Prospectors poured through the port on their way to the fields at Cue, Day Dawn, Mount Magnet, Meekatharra and Yalgoo.
By World War 1 Geraldton had become the major centre for the surrounding wheat belt. It still holds this position today and is an important centre for fishing, wheat, sheep and tourism.”
There are still a few of the old style cottages around.
One of the most remarkable buildings in Geraldton is St Francis Xavier Cathedral it is a spectacular church in the centre of Geraldton that you will find as magnificent on the inside as it looks from the outside. Designed by the Monsignor John Hawes, it took 22 years to build.
Outside the Cathedral the trees are filled with hundreds of squawking Corellas. It is midday and they are settling in for their afternoon rest.
It has been an interesting morning and I am now back into the main shopping area so time to buy some groceries and head home.
Footnote… I have found out that we have been calling the vehicle the wrong name. He is not called Troopy, his name is Hector…