Geraldton Things to Do

  • Caves along the Chapman River
    Caves along the Chapman River
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Most Recent Things to Do in Geraldton

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    HMAS SYDNEY MEMORIAL # 1 DOME OF SOULS

    by balhannah Updated Dec 17, 2014

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    The HMAS Sydney Memorial is situated on the top of Mount Scott which overlooks the city of Geraldton. When in Geraldton, it is easy to see this Memorial, and from the top there is a good view of Geraldton.

    This Memorial really amazed me, mainly because of all the thought that had been put into the design, every little element meant something important.

    From the car-park, we took the walk up the curved path to the top of Mt. Scott. At the beginning of the pathway were two old bollards from the Port of Geraldton, which would have been used by the Sydney II on her last visit to Geraldton in 1941.

    On reaching the top, there is a domed structure that forms a sanctuary, this is known as the "Dome of Souls."

    The Dome came about because of a true incident. In 1998. A large group of people were standing at the site waiting for the dedication of the Memorial to take place, when a large flock of Seagulls flew over as the sun was setting and the Last Post was being played. This inspired the creator of the Dome, to make a filigree of stainless steel in open weave and to include 645 Seagulls, the same number as Sailors lost at sea.
    Birds are symbolic as spirits of the dead, soul freed from the body, ascent into heaven and the ability to communicate with God. They depict celestial realm and powers and oppose evil. They are symbolic of the souls of the departed, serene, of spirits flying free, so what an excellent choice for the Dome. The souls of the dead Sailors were believed to be embodied in the Sea gulls.

    I loved the Dome, I felt peaceful, my eyes drawn to the many silver Seagulls where the light filtered between each. On a sunny day with a bright blue sky, I thought how clever it was to come up with this idea.
    I didn't see it at night, but read it is lit and becomes a Dome of Gold.

    FREE TO VISIT

    Dome of Souls Dome of Souls
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    HMAS SYDNEY MEMORIAL

    by balhannah Updated Dec 17, 2014

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    This is a really magnificent memorial that should be seen by all who come to Geraldton.

    I will tell you about the Ship before moving onto what I saw at the Memorial.

    First of all, we are visiting the memorial in memory of 645 young Australian Sailors who lost their lives when the HMAS Sydney II sank.

    When the HMAS Sydney II was built, she was the pride of the Royal Australian Navy fleet. She was named after Sydney, the capital city of New South Wales. During her time, the ship was involved in enforcing sanctions during the Abyssinian crisis, and later in 1940, was sent to help the British. She sank two Italian warships, participated in multiple shore bombardments, and still returned to Sydney with minimal damage and no casualties.

    In 1941, the Sydney resumed convoy escort and patrol duties in home waters.
    It was 19th of November 1941, when in the open ocean near Carnarvon, W.A. that the Sydney spotted an unidentified merchant vessel and closed on the vessel requesting identification. The ship was the HSK Kormoran, a disguised German raider, which eventually opened fire and a battle ensued from which neither ship survived.

    I can remember the controversy that surrounded the Sydney, mainly because she had superior fire power, so how and why did the Sydney sink without a trace?
    The Sydney's loss with all hands compared to the survival of most of the German crew fueled the controversy, with some alleging that the German commander lured the Sydney into range. Lack of information and wartime censorship on radio broadcasts and the loss of the Sydney not being confirmed by the Prime Minister until 1 December 1941 didn't help matters .

    Exactly how and why the Sydney went down with no survivors has remained a mystery.

    Most of what is known to date of the battle and the Sydney's last moments was reconstructed from interrogations of the 317 Kormoran survivors, and many questions are still unanswered:

    It wasn't until 16 March 2008 the wreck of the Sydney II was found. This brought relief and closure for many families, as well as the Australian Government. The discovery was made by the "Finding Sydney Foundation," which had also found the wreck of the German Raider HSK Kormoran four days earlier. The wrecks rest some 2700 metres down.

    The Sydney tragedy is Australia’s largest loss of life in a naval battle.

    The Geraldton Voluntary Tour Guides Association runs a daily tour at the memorial starting at 10.30am taking 30 mins to complete.
    Meet your guide at the memorial car-park, Gummer avenue, Mt Scott.
    For customised tours of the HMAS Sydney II memorial, please contact the Geraldton Visitor Centre on 08/9921 3999.
    A memorial service is held every year on November 19 around sunset time. Call the Visitor Centre for more details on 08/9921 3999.

    Next, we will have a look around the memorial which is FREE TO VISIT, HAS FREE PARKING AND FREE TOILETS.
    Follow the brown tourist sign from the centre of Geraldton to find the Memorial

    HMAS Sydney II Memorial
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    MOORE POINT LIGHTHOUSE

    by balhannah Updated Dec 17, 2014

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    One of the stops I made on the bike trail was at the Moore Point Lighthouse. Foundations were laid for the Lighthouse in 1877, but were found to be in the wrong place, so they were relocated to this site a further 5kms from the centre of Geraldton.

    The tower was a prefabricated steel tower made in England and brought to Australia in segments aboard the 'Lady Louisa'. It was bolted together on the new foundations and a light added in 1878. The original kerosene wick lamp was replaced by an incandescent-mantle lamp in 1911, then to electricity in 1958, being upgraded again in 1985.
    The red and white candy stripes of Point Moore Lighthouse really make this Lighthouse stand out! Standing 34 metres high it was the first all steel tower built on the mainland of Australia back in 1878. With its bold colours added in 1969, the lighthouse has become an icon of the port town of Geraldton.

    The lighthouse is not open to the public, so all I could do was to walk around the base of it having a look through the fence. The interpretive plaque provides some interesting facts about the lighthouse and its history.

    The Moore Point lighthouse is the oldest surviving Commonwealth lighthouse in Western Australia.
    It is situated on the side of the road and there is room to pull off and to park the car.

    Moore Point Lighthouse Moore Point Lighthouse
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    BILL SEWELL COMPLEX

    by balhannah Updated Dec 17, 2014

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    Since 1988, where the Visitor Centre is located has been known as the Bill Sewell Complex.

    The complex was constructed in stages beginning in the mid 1850s. The Victoria District Hospital was officially opened on 23rd June 1887 to coincide with celebrations for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. It operated as a hospital between 1887 - 1966. Since then, major restoration has taken place on the beautiful historic buildings and once again the doors are open!
    Today it is Heritage listed and houses a host of businesses and organisations, including the Geraldton Visitor Centre.

    I was told by the visitor centre staff to go in and have a look at the FREE DISPLAY done by members of the Victoria District Hospital Staff Association who have created an exhibition of artefacts and photographs of the building's long history.
    The exhibition is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

    IF YOU WISH TO KNOW MORE, THEN TAKE ONE OF THE FREE TOURS run by voluntary tour guides. Donations are welcome.

    The tours of the Victoria Hospital and Old Gaol run every Tuesday and Thursday at 2pm.
    Meet in front of the Visitor Centre.
    Tour duration: 40 minutes

    Hospital museum Bill Sewell complex Bill Sewell complex Bill Sewell complex
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    WATCH THE SHIPS COME IN

    by balhannah Written Dec 4, 2014

    Watching the ships come into Port and being loaded has always fascinated me.

    The Geraldton Port, located in the heart of the city of Geraldton, we passed every day as our Caravan park was located not far from it. .
    The Port is one of Australia's busiest regional ports and second largest for grain export. Also exported from here is iron ore, fuel, metals, mineral sands, talc, garnet and fertilisers.

    It is one of the few ports where you are able to get a close look at all of the bustling activities that take place, even though your not allowed into the port. I found an excellent viewing area that looked to be rather new. It was well set out and had plenty of seating.

    Different size carriers arrive daily and the Geraldton port has Cruise ships arriving, dates for arrivals are available from the Geraldton Visitor Centre.

    I walked along a pathway from Francis street car-park. This took me to a lookout area over the wharf. I found I didn't need to go any higher as I could see well from ground level. We had seen a Ship coming in, so that is why we made the stop. I was lucky as I watched it come into the Port area and be turned completely around by the Tug Boats and finally settle against the wharf.
    It was interesting seeing those little Tugs do their work with the big ship, and it didn't take long either!
    I didn't stay to see what it would be loaded with, probably grain. I was behind a fence watching, so just poked my camera through to get photos.
    Photos of the sequences of the ship arriving are in a travelogue on this page.

    This area can be reached easily on foot or bicycle by following the walk/bike-way along the esplanade. All flat going!

    viewing area To viewing area Port of Geraldton Port of Geraldton
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    THE IRIS SUNDIAL

    by balhannah Updated Dec 4, 2014

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    Unfortunately, the photo I took of the plaque is unreadable, so I haven't much information on this very interesting sundial.
    I can tell you it was built by local man, Mr. Newbold who named it after his wife Iris. It is located in Queens Park, across the road from St. Francis Xaviers Cathedral and infront of the Theatre.

    Do go and have a look as I doubt if you will find one the same as this one anywhere in the world.

    A great Sundial!

    Iris Sundial Iris Sundial Iris Sundial
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    ST. FRANCIS XAVIER CATHEDRAL

    by balhannah Written Dec 4, 2014

    The St Francis Xavier Cathedral was designed by the famous Monsignor Hawes (Priest and Architect), who arrived in Geraldton as a parish priest in 1915, If you have been following my Western Australian road trip, then you will have seen a few of his other Churches.

    I must say, I became a fan of his architecture, so when we came to Geraldton, I wanted to see the Cathedral generally regarded as one of his finest works.

    The foundation stone was laid in 1916, but it took 22 years to complete as it was built in stages.
    The section completed in this first stage was the Twin Towers and the Nave. The towers had domed roofs added later, but little more was done until 1926 when the crypt was extended and the sanctuary finished above it. The completed building was opened on August 28th, 1938.

    This Roman Catholic Cathedral is open to the public, that was good as I wanted to see the interior.
    Romanesque columns, huge arches beneath an octagonal dome and zebra striping of the walls reminded me of St. Georges Church in Bluff Point, Geraldton, only that Church had nothing to do with Monsignor Hawes! The architecture is a blend of many styles.

    Guided walks through the cathedral and its crypt are available Mondays and Fridays at 10am, Wednesdays at 4pm.
    A small fee applies.

    Mass Times
    Sat 6:00pm Sun 7:30am; 9:30am; 6:00pm
    Reconciliation Times
    Fridays 11:30am - 12:00noon
    Saturdays 11:00am - 12:00noon; 5.30pm

    Photos of the interior are in a travelogue on this page.

    St Francis Xavier Cathedral St Francis Xavier Cathedral St Francis Xavier Cathedral St Francis Xavier Cathedral
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    BATAVIA LONGBOAT REPLICA

    by balhannah Written Dec 3, 2014

    After I had finished with the Museum, I had some time to kill, so I went around the ocean side hoping to find some seating whilst waiting for my transport. My surprise was seeing the Batavia Longboat replica. This was constructed in 2002 by students of the local technical college and now is in the water beside the WA Museum.
    The replica is maintained by a small group of dedicated volunteers forming the not for profit organisation, the Batavia Coast Longboat Replica Association.

    Public sailing is every Sunday afternoon (except the first Sunday of the month).
    Departure times are subject to weather conditions.
    The longboat is usually dry docked for maintenance through the winter months

    And yes....There is plenty of places to sit!

    Batavia longboat replica
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    W.A. MUSEUM - HMAS SYDNEY II

    by balhannah Written Dec 3, 2014

    PRIDE OF THE FLEET - THE HMAS SYDNEY II is another PERMANENT EXHIBITION.
    The loss of HMAS Sydney II is Australia’s greatest naval tragedy

    If you have already been to the HMAS Sydney War Memorial then you will have read about the sinking of this ship after a fierce sea battle with the German raider HSK Kormoran on the 19th November 1941. The ship lost all hands - 645 young men lost their lives. The "Sydney" and the "Kormoran" were found 67 years later.

    The Geraldton Museum - HMAS Sydney II - Pride of the Fleet, is the first formal exhibition to cover all major aspects of one of Australia’s most enduring maritime mysteries. Here is a good overview of the story of HMAS Sydney II as well as true stories of the men who were lost and the families they left behind.
    The exhibition has information on the Finding Sydney Foundation, the HMAS Sydney Search team and their work in discovering the battle site and wreck sites for both ships.

    HSK Kormoran & HMAS Sydney
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    W.A. MUSEUM - SHIPWRECKS GALLERY

    by balhannah Written Dec 3, 2014

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    The Shipwrecks Gallery is another excellent permanent exhibition.

    I didn't know that 1,650 boats have been ship-wrecked off the Western Australian coast - that is a lot of ships!
    The gallery has on display artefacts from four local shipwrecks including clay pipes, silver coins, cannons, the original Batavia stone portico and numerous other relics, a display I found really interesting. These artefacts had laid under the water for over 300 years, and here it was for all to see!

    The most heard of and famous shipwreck from the olden days is the "Batavia," Australia’s second oldest known shipwreck (Australia’s oldest known shipwreck is the English East India Company ship Trial lost in 1622. In June 1629, the VOC ship Batavia was wrecked on the Houtman
    Abrolhos Islands off the coast of Geraldton, Western Australia. It took another 334 years for the wreck of the Batavia to be found by fishermen and divers. During this time, watch-keepers were nearby to ensure the site was not looted.

    Between 1972 and 1976 when excavation took place, part of the hull of the vessel was uncovered and raised. After a number of years of conservation treatment, the remains were rebuilt in the Shipwreck Galleries in Fremantle. Part of a portico façade was found on the site, this was reconstructed and is on display in the WA Museum Geraldton.

    Another shipwreck was the Zeewijk, this happened 100 years after the Batavia. It was another Dutch ship, carrying 208 men from 13 Nationalities. Its cargo was building materials, provisions for the crew and 10 chests of Gold and Silver bars, small silver and copper coins, quite a valuable cargo that went down with the ship.

    You can learn about the famous Batavia mutiny and how the men on the Zeewijk survived and the unknown fate of other European shipwreck survivors stranded on Western Australian shores.

    Another informative gallery!

    Tobacco box lid Silver coins from shipwrecks Batavia
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    W.A. MUSEUM

    by balhannah Updated Dec 3, 2014

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    The Western Australian Museum in Geraldton is situated in a new building overlooking the Indian Ocean.
    I found it an interesting Museum which has PERMANENT & TEMPORARY EXHIBITIONS.

    If you interested in learning about the four major early shipwrecks located in the region, the Batavia, Gilt Dragon, Zuytdorp, and Zeewijk or learn more about the discovery of HMAS Sydney II, the come here for a visit and see the excellent display.

    The museum also covers the Yamaji history and culture, and the region’s natural landscapes and marine environment. I found how European exploration and settlement had developed in the area we had just been - the Mid-West, where agriculture, fishing, mining and science industries have been developed.

    Entry to the Museum took us into the gift shop where there is a unique range of gifts, many in the nautical range. Souvenirs are related to the region, and there are many books on natural wonders and local history. I bought a couple of nice souvenirs here for quite a reasonable price. As it happened, I didn't find souvenirs anywhere else in Geraldton.

    20 minute guided tours are available on request, I am not sure if there is a charge or not.
    Wheelchair access throughout entire complex
    Plenty of seating in the reception foyer.
    Brochures and customer information is available from the reception counter
    Kids corner is situated on a rubber floor close to reception area with a view of the marina
    Two drink fountains located in the corridor just off the main display area
    Toilets at the Museum

    The Museum is OPEN
    ALL WEEK 9.30am - 4pm
    OPEN ANZAC DAY 1 - 4pm
    CLOSED Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day and Good Friday

    ADMISSION IS FREE BUT DONATION IS APPRECIATED.
    SUGGESTED IS $5 PER PERSON
    WELL WORTH IT!

    W.A. Museum Inside W.A. Museum
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    W.A. MUSEUM - THE MID WEST

    by balhannah Updated Dec 3, 2014

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    The first section on display in the W.A. Museum, is the MID- WEST which is split into two sections = Natural & Social History. It is a PERMANENT EXHIBITION.

    In the Natural History section were displays of fossils found from the Mid West's pre-historic past. The area is well known for its fauna and flora. Take a look at the Kangaroo standing on its hind legs, you may be surprised at just how big and tall the big male Kangaroos are! No way would you want to make one angry in the wild. This was a really good display.

    The Social history explored the culture of the local Yamaji people, tales of European exploration and settlers. On display were Boomerangs and other pieces the Aboriginals used to survive. I found the Bush Tucker section very interesting, especially if you have never seen a Witchetty Grub before, you can see them here in the Museum. It is good to know what you can and can't eat if your ever lost in the bush. We had already seen some of these plants and their fruits growing in the wild.

    I even saw a photo of the first road trains used in the area! I must admit, I didn't know they had been around for so long!

    Hanging from above over this area, is a replica of a Bristol Tourer Biplane.
    In December, 1921, three planes set off on their maiden flight to deliver mail to Derby. One of the planes crashed 130kms from Geraldton, killing the pilot and mechanic. A replica plane was made to fly during the 70yr old commemorative flight in 1992, this too crashed, but this time, nobody was hurt. The nearby Greenough shire acquired the plane and it was restored by the Mid West Aero Club who when completed, gave it to the W.A. Museum in Geraldton.


    Open 9.30 - 4pm daily
    Admission is free - Donation of $5 gratefully accepted and well worth the money.

    Look how tall! Bristol Tourer Bush Tucker Early Road Train
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    GERALDTON COURTHOUSE

    by balhannah Written Dec 3, 2014

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    Geraldton has a large impressive Courthouse.
    Geraldton's first courthouse was to be built in 1863, constructed only of the best quality jarrah and sheoak shingles. The building was completed and ready for use 1867, how-ever, it never really was a great success with the people working there, so it was decided in the late 1890s to construct a new courthouse.
    The new building was officially opened on the 1st of October 1897. A very large building built in late Victorian colonial architecture with pillars and colonnades was quite impressive and the one in my photo. It became home for Lands and Mines, Treasury, Police, Customs and Shipping and included both police and session courts.
    In 1988, this building was remodelled for the singular purpose of being used as a courthouse.

    The courthouse opens at 8.30am and closes at 4.30pm.
    The general public are allowed inside for a look.

    The courthouse
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    YAMAJI ARTS - EMU EGGS

    by balhannah Updated Dec 2, 2014

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    Another new highlight in Geraldton not to be missed are the Emu Eggs located on the foreshore.

    To mark the beginning of Reconciliation Week, the Yamaji Art Emu Egg sculptures were officially launched on 27 May 2013. Ancient astronomy is depicted in the two-dimensional artwork that is transformed into three dimensional sculpted Emu eggs
    The cast bronze shapes of emu eggs were made and then decorated with ceramic mosaic to represent the Aboriginal stories of the Emu in the Sky and the Seven Sisters being chased by Orion, the Hunter. The Aboriginal people see these different shapes and designs in the night sky.

    I loved the eight Emu egg halves, so colourful and beautiful sitting in the sand on the foreshore.

    The Mayor of Geraldton is hoping this project will raise awareness and educate us non-Indigenous people who live in Australia and the international visitors to Geraldton.

    Emu Eggs Emu Eggs Emu Eggs
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    HERO OF THE BATAVIA

    by balhannah Written Dec 2, 2014

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    As it happened we parked our car near this Statue. I didn't recognize the person which meant another read of the plaque at the base.
    Only erected here in 2009, it shows Wiebbe Hayes (born about 1608), a colonial soldier from Winschoten, Netherlands.

    WHO WAS WIEBBE HAYES

    The true story involves what happened when the Dutch ship, the Batavia became ship-wrecked at the Houtman Abrolhos Island in 1629. To try and save his men, the Commander and skipper with 46 others, left in the ship's longboat to search for water, only to end up in Java, Indonesia. They were away 3.5months.
    In their absence, Jeronimous Cornelisz and his accomplices assumed control of the 200 survivors marooned on Beacon Island, a beginning of a reign of terror and murder. Cornelisz isolated soldier Wiebbe Hayes and some twenty others on East Wallabi Island, expecting they would die, but they crossed to West Wallabi Island where they found water and food. Here, other escapees arrived an told Hayes of the bloodshed on Beacon Island. Hayes realized something had to be done, so he and his men fought Cornelisz and eventually captured him.

    Hayes became a national hero as his actions undoubtedly saved many lives and saw Cornelisz and his men, tried and hanged for their crimes.

    .

    Wiebbe Hayes
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