On the wall of a building by the clock tower is a large mosaic mural. On the sides of the mural are the words welcome in many different languages. It was created by local artists and volunteers and designed by Jane McIntyre.
The boardwalk runs between the marina and the back of the WA Regional Museum and gives a lovely view of the marina and Champion Bay. Concerts and the Boat, Fishing and Outdoor Show are held along this boardwalk. At the end is a fine dining restaurant called Conversations By Indigo. This whole foreshore is still being developed.
The marina’s project began in 1987 and the facilities ere officially opened in 1995. There are 50 floating pens at varying lengths and widths and there is a wooden recreational jetty. A 270 metre breakwater was added to the boat harbour to hold back waves which were creating a problem.
The museum shop is just inside the entrance. They specialise in Australian books which cover local history, maritime and military and Aboriginal culture. They also have jewellery which include the famous Abrolhos pearls. There is something to interest everyone whether just browsing or looking for a special gift to take away with you.
In the main foyer, hanging from the ceiling is a Bristol Tourer. This was a civil utility bi-plane which was built after the first world war in the UK. WA Airways, who was the first airline before Qantas, used these planes to run between Perth and Geraldton.
On display in this section are early boomerangs which were used for killing animals by the indigenous Yamaji aboriginals. They would hold them at one end and throw, knocking out or killing their target. The Spear was made of wood with the point made from a very hardwood which were hardened further by burning by fire then scraping down to shape a point. String used by the Aboriginals was made from the inside bark of Dagurrba, a red leaf fig.
The Fishing Gallery features items used by the rock lobster and wet line fishermen in Geraldton’s early years. Today the city is classed as a world leader in rock lobster fishing. More can be learned by taking a tour at the Lobster Factory at Fisherman’s Wharf.
These chubby little worm like creatures are actually the larvae of moths and beetles. They drill their way into trees, eating the wood and sap on their way. The Aboriginals have made use of this source of food for hundreds of years. They protein enriched grubs are either eat them live and raw or cooked. I’m told they taste a little like prawns or chicken with a peanut type sauce when cooked.
There is a small but impressive display of insects found in Western Australia. These include, dragonflies, cockroaches, butterflies and moths, stick insects, grasshoppers, lacewings and of course the good old Aussie fly.
The gallery features some 55 displays including 600 items and old local photographs. There is a curved wall in the gallery which spans 75 metres with a height of 3.6metres and winds in and out like a snake. Displays on this wall represent the Murchison River. The lighting is low to protect light-sensitive artefacts.
As in the WA Shipwrecked Museum in Fremantle, the Shipwrecked gallery features a large stone portico. These 137 prefabricated stones were part of the cargo which was intended as a portico at the Dutch headquarters in Batavia.
There is a mystery as to what happened with the Zuytdorp. It was last seen as it departed the Cape of Good Hope on 22 April 1712. Wreckage was found at the base of the cliffs north of Kalbarri. It is thought that about 30 survived and lived using salvaged bits and pieces from the wreckage in Aboriginal camps.
Some of the best recovered ceramic artefacts of shipwrecked vessels have come from the Zeewijk, Vergulde Draeck and the Batavia. Some of these are on display including a Beardman Jug. These jugs were used to store rum. It was also known as a Bellarmine but the name Beardman came from the bearded face on the neck of the jug. It originated in the early part of the 1500’s.
The Shipwreck Gallery tells the tales of Dutch shipwrecks along the coast. There are three in particular during 1629 and 1727, which are on display, the Batavia of which there was a famous mutiny, the Zeewyck and the Zuytdorp. All have stories and remnants from their wrecks.
Outside the Museum is a huge wheel which came from a bucket retainer which was used to load Australia’s first export shipment of iron ore. This particular wheel came from a crawler at the Geraldton wharf.