Geraldton facts for kids

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Geraldton
WA
Welcome to Geraldton.jpg
Geraldton Marina
Population: 39825  (35)
Postcode: 6530, 6531, 6532
Area: 270.7 km² (104.5 sq mi) (2011 urban)
Time zone: AWST (UTC+8)
Location:
LGA: City of Greater Geraldton
State District: Geraldton
Federal Division: Durack
Mean Max Temp Mean Min Temp Annual Rainfall
25.9 °C
79 °F
13.6 °C
56 °F
442.4 mm
17.4 in

Geraldton is a coastal city in the Mid West region of Western Australia, located 424 kilometres (263 mi) north of Perth.

At June 2015 Geraldton had an estimated urban population of 39,825. Geraldton is the seat of government for the City of Greater Geraldton, which also incorporates the town of Mullewa and large rural areas previously forming the shires of Greenough and Mullewa.

The Port of Geraldton is a major west coast seaport. Geraldton is an important service and logistics centre for regional mining, fishing, wheat, sheep and tourism industries. Geraldton has a sister city relationship with Zhejiang, China.

History

Aboriginal

Clear evidence has established indigenous people living on the west coast of Australia for at least 40,000 years, though at present it is unclear when the first indigenous people may have originally explored and lived in and around Geraldton.

The local Aboriginal people native to the region surrounding Geraldton are known as "Yamatji" or "Wajarri" people. Wajarri country is inland from Geraldton and extends as far south and west as Mullewa, north to Gascoyne Junction and east to Meekatharra. The Aboriginal people of the Murchison-Gascoyne region were instrumental in assisting early settlers in the area in identifying permanent water sources, and worked in the pearling, pastoral and fishing industries.

Yamatji art is a distinctive style of painting, using thousands of dots of ochre and other earth-based pigments to create patterns and images relevant to Yamatji/Wajarri culture.

The Western Australia Museum at the marina in Geraldton hosts a permanent exhibit on Yamatji/Wajarri culture and history of the region.

European arrival

Many European mariners encountered, or were wrecked on, the Houtman Abrolhos islands 60 kilometres (37 mi) west of Geraldton during the 17th and 18th centuries. Although two mutineers from the Batavia were marooned on the mainland in 1629 there is no surviving evidence that they made landfall at or near the site of the current town.

The wreck of the Batavia, flagship of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) fleet on her maiden voyage, on Morning Reef of the Houtman Abrolhos on 4 June 1629, and the events surrounding the subsequent mutiny, rescue and punishment of her crew are of great historical significance to the region. A detailed account of the events is recorded in a 24 December 1897 Western Mail article "The Abrolhos Tragedy", translated from the notes of Francois Pelsaert, the commander of the Batavia when she ran aground. The Western Australian Museum in Geraldton houses an exhibition of clay pipes, silver coins, cannons, the original Batavia stone portico and numerous other relics recovered from the wreck of the Batavia and other notable local historical shipwrecks such as the Zuytdorp, Zeewijk and Vergulde Draeck.

The explorer George Grey, while on his second disastrous expedition along the Western Australian coast, passed over the future site of Geraldton on 7 April 1839.

A decade later, explorer Augustus Gregory travelled through the area. A member of his party, James Perry Walcott, discovered lead ore in 1848 in the bed of the Murchison River. The Geraldine mine was subsequently established, named after the County Clare family home of Charles FitzGerald, the 4th Governor of Western Australia. The town of Geraldton, named after Governor FitzGerald, was surveyed in 1850 and land sales began in 1851.

Tourism

Visitor Centre

The Geraldton Visitor Centre is located in the historical Geraldton railway station.

Point Moore Lighthouse

The Point Moore Lighthouse, located south of the Geraldton Port is a cultural and historical attraction. It is the oldest surviving Commonwealth lighthouse in Western Australia and was also the first steel tower to be constructed on the mainland of Australia. The Point Moore lighthouse stands 35m tall and its 1000w Tungsten Halogen Lamp can be seen for 23 nautical miles. It began operation in 1878.

Geraldton foreshore and city centre

In 2007, the Geraldton foreshore area, previously an abandoned railway marshalling yard, was redeveloped and today hosts a playground with water activities, public green spaces, public beaches, picnic areas, basketball court and shaded play areas. The project was completed in 2008.

Geraldton is a regular port of call for cruise ships with visits occurring approximately ten times per year. Volunteers, organised by the City of Greater Geraldton, greet visitors on arrival to provide information on activities and other assistance.

HMAS Sydney Memorial
Memorial to HMAS Sydney

HMAS Sydney memorial

The Waiting women
"The Waiting Woman"

The memorial for the World War II cruiser HMAS Sydney is located on Gummer Avenue, at the summit of Mount Scott. The memorial recognises the loss of the light cruiser during a mutually destructive fight with the German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran off Shark Bay in November 1941, with none of the 645 crewmen aboard surviving. A temporary memorial, consisting of a large boulder, a flagpole, and a bronze plaque, was erected in 1998. A permanent memorial was dedicated on 18 November 2001, the day before the 60th anniversary. The HMAS Sydney memorial is made up of four major elements: 1. A stele, based on the ships prow; 2. A granite wall listing the ships company; 3. A bronze statue of a women looking out to sea and waiting in vain for Sydney to return; and 4. A dome made up of 645 stainless steel seagulls. The 645 Stainless steel seagulls represent the souls of the lost sailors. In Folklore, birds such as seagulls are sometimes known as 'soul birds' because they are regarded as the souls of people who died at sea. (Armstrong,1958) Sydney

The Dome of Souls
"The Dome of Souls"

In May 2009, the memorial was recognised by the Australian government as being of national significance. [Note, this vessel is the second Australian warship to be named HMAS Sydney, and is sometimes referred to as HMAS Sydney (II).] There are a number of memorials around the world dedicated to the many husbands, sons and daughters lost at war. Two noteworthy memorials from the first World War are the Menin Gate (1927) in Ypres and Thiepval memorial. The Mount Scott location has great significance to the HMAS Cruiser because the The Waiting Woman sculpture's alignment and exact co-ordinates are positioned and pointed directly within a fraction of a degree of the location of the disappearance of the wreck.

Activities

Geraldton has a Mediterranean climate with dry, sunny conditions and warm sea temperatures throughout the summer. Mean sea temperatures in the summer months (measured at 10m) are consistently above 22C, often exceeding 24C. Surface sea temperatures in summer regularly exceed 26C.

The Geraldton foreshore area has pathways for walking, running, cycling, dog-walking, skateboarding and in-line skating. There are skate parks at Cape Burney, Maitland Park, Wonthella, Strathalbyn, Tarcoola Beach, Forrester and Drummond Cove.

Farmers markets occur on Saturday from 8 am to 12 noon in Maitland Park on Cathedral Avenue and on Sunday at the Old railway station on the corner of Chapman Road and Forrest Street.

4WD access is permitted on many beaches around Geraldton. Access points are usually labelled with information and cautions. Road rules apply and beaches are patrolled by local rangers. Non-compliance to road rules or entry into prohibited areas attracts significant penalties. Many beaches are impassable at times around high tide and during periods of ocean surges. At certain times of year, access may become impossible due to beach erosion.

Windsurfing and kitesurfing

During the spring, summer and early autumn months from September through April, Geraldton experiences consistent seabreezes. Windsurfing and kitesurfing locations include Back Beach, Separation Point ("Seppos"), Point Moore, Hell's Gate, St. George and Sunset Beach. The region is a popular windsurfing location, attracting significant numbers of overseas visitors and product testing by manufacturers. In 2005, Geraldton was host to the Australian KiteSurfing Association (AKSA) Australian National Championships.

Surfing and stand-up paddlesurfing

Surfing, and more recently Stand-Up Paddlesurfing, are also popular activities in and around Geraldton. Popular surf spots include Flat Rocks, Headbutts, Greenough, Back Beach, Sunset Beach and Glenfield. Stand-Up Paddlesurfing spots include Point Moore, Town Beach, The Foreshore, St. Georges Beach and Drummond Cove to the north.

In winter, local weather conditions shift to predominantly easterly (offshore) winds. Indian Ocean storms generate large swells that produce good conditions for surfing (though the fringe barrier reef protecting the Geraldton coastline blocks much of the swell, significantly reducing the size of the waves that reach the beaches). Large swells may create potentially dangerous rip currents as water flows through passages between the reef.

Fishing, boating and sailing

Saltwater fishing, boating and sailing are popular along Geraldton's coastline.

Local and visiting recreational fishermen and women target a wide variety of native sport fish from the beaches and wharves that includes Mulloway, Bream, Tailor, Whiting, Sharks and Cod; larger fish such as Dhufish, Mackerel, Tuna, Snapper, Sampsonfish, Coral Trout and larger sharks, amongst many others are found on Geraldton's offshore reefs, located from approximately 8 km to more than 80 km offshore. A recreational fishing licence is not required when fishing from the shore but a licence must be obtained from the Department of Fisheries to fish from a boat. Significant fines apply for non-compliance. Recreational fishing for local Western Rock Lobster is also permitted during the season from December–April (exact dates vary from year to year) however, a special licence is required. Size and daily bag limits apply to certain species of fish and to all lobster catches.

The city is home to the Geraldton Yacht Club, which marked its 100th anniversary in 2014.

Scuba diving and snorkelling

Scuba diving and snorkelling are popular activities around Geraldton. There are several wreck diving sites off the coast, including the South Tomi, which was sunk in 2004. The South Tomi is a 58.7 metre long, 9.81 metre wide vessel that was built by Niigata Engineering and Shipping Co Ltd. in Niigata City, Japan. In March 2001, the Republic of Togo registered South Tomi. The same month, the ship was identified fishing illegally in Australian sub-Antarctic waters and pursued by Australian Fisheries officers for 14 days, covering 3,300 nautical miles (approximately 6,100 kilometres). The vessel was boarded by Australian defence forces 320 nautical miles (approximately 600 km) south of Cape Town in South Africa and inspected. The vessel was found to be carrying an illegal catch of protected Patagonian toothfish and the vessel and its catch were confiscated by Australian authorities. The vessel was escorted 8,500 km to Western Australia and arrived on 5 May in Fremantle. The catch was sold by the Australian government for $1.4 million. The City of Geraldton secured the vessel to be sunk as an artificial reef. The ship was towed from Fremantle to Geraldton and scuttled on 18 September 2004 2.9 nautical miles off the Geraldton coast. The site is registered with the WA Department of Fisheries as a wreck and is closed year round to fishing within the defined boundaries – commencing at 28°43.968'S 114°33.392'E, then east to 114°33.206'E, then north to 28°43.752'S, then east to 114°33.392'E, then south to the commencement point. Water depth at the site is approximately 24.5 metres and the deck is 13 metres from the surface. The wreck of the South Tomi is one of WA's Top 10 Dive Wrecks and provides an easily accessible diving alternative to the nearby Houtman Abrolhos.

Team sports

Geraldton has a number of resident sporting teams, including Australian Rules Football, Basketball, Netball, Soccer and Roller Derby League.

Geraldton is home to the Mid West Academy of Sport, a non-profit community organisation providing support to sporting talent (athletes, coaches, officials and administrators) throughout the Mid West Region of Western Australia.

Horse racing

Geraldton is home to a horse racing industry and since 1887 has hosted the annual Geraldton Gold Cup meeting.

Events

The Geraldton Sunshine Festival, established in 1958, is one of Australia's longest-running festivals. The festival takes place annually in October, celebrating the arrival of Spring and providing opportunities for residents and visitors to engage with local businesses and other organisations.

The Goodness Sustainability and Innovation Festival is held each August in and around Geraldton and showcases and celebrates innovation and achievement towards sustainability in the Mid West.

Beaches

St Georges Beach
St Georges Beach

The main beaches in Geraldton are Tarcoola Beach, Back Beach, Separation Point, Point Moore, Pages Beach, Town Beach, Champion Bay, St Georges, Sunset Beach and Bluff Point.

Cathedrals

St. Francis Xavier Cathedral

St Francis Xavier Cathedral
St Francis Xavier Cathedral

The St Francis Xavier Cathedral was designed by Monsignor John Hawes—an architect and a Catholic priest. Construction began in 1916 and was completed in 1938.

Cathedral of the Holy Cross

The Anglican cathedral of Geraldton was built during the 1960s.

Facilities and services

Geraldton Airport provides between 3 and 10 daily flights to and from Perth, operated by QantasLink and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines. General aviation services include charter flights to the Abrolhos Islands, to WA minesites and to various tourist destinations. The main passenger terminal is equipped with a licensed café, a private lounge for hire and a free public WiFi hotspot. Flight training schools, aircraft maintenance facilities and a local aero club are based here. Construction is underway (2014) on an Airport Technology Park.

The Greater Geraldton Regional Library is open seven days a week and provides free access to the Internet via a public WiFi hotspot. Other free public WiFi hotspots are available along the Geraldton Foreshore from the marina to the Esplanade.Free public WiFi hotspot locations in Geraldton

The Geraldton Batavia Coast Marina consists of three jetties, 47 commercial and recreation boat pens, 42 floating pens, boat ramps, toilets, carpark, fishing platform and a boardwalk.

Geraldton Volunteer Marine Rescue (active on weekends and public holidays) monitor marine radio frequency 27.88 MHz and VHF Channel 16. Local groups also monitor other frequencies such as 27.90 MHz, 27.91 MHz and VHF channels 72 and 73, as well as their own channels.

The Geraldton Regional Art Gallery opened in 1984 and was one of the first "A Class" regional galleries in Australia.

The Aquarena is a public swimming facility managed by the City of Greater Geraldton. It has 50-metre and 25-metre pools, a leisure pool, a water slide and hydrotherapy facilities, with water polo and swimming squads and group fitness sessions.

The Queen Elizabeth II Centre (QE2) is home to a variety of community and seniors' groups, and offers facilities for public hire, including two large halls with equipped kitchens. The QEII Centre is available for local and visiting seniors, group meetings and also provides an internet hub for seniors.

Nearby

The Houtman Abrolhos islands are 60 kilometres (37 mi) west of Geraldton.

The Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory Support Facility in Geraldton, operated by CSIRO, provides support services for the Square Kilometre Array project located at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, 315 km northeast of Geraldton.

The Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station (ADSCS) is located at Kojarena, 30 km east of Geraldton.

Transportation

Geraldton has a public bus service run by TransGeraldton and is connected to Perth with coach services provided by Transwa. QantasLink and Virgin Australia provide services from Geraldton Airport; the airport is also used for general aviation.

Military History

During World War II Geraldton was the location of No. 4 Service Flying Training School RAAF. This flying school was formed on 10 February 1941 and disbanded in May 1945.

Climate

Geraldton has a Mediterranean climate with semi-arid influence. Geraldton is very sunny, receiving around 164 clear days annually.

In the winter the temperature is mild with daily highs averaging around 20 °C (68 °F). Most of the yearly rainfall falls in this period.

In the summer months, Geraldton averages 32–33 °C (90–91 °F), with some days over 40 °C (104 °F). Daily afternoon sea breezes cool coastal areas and summer temperatures in coastal suburbs of Geraldton (Seacrest, Tarcoola, Geraldton CBD, Beresford, Sunset Beach, Bluff Point and Drummond Cove) are generally cooler than in inland suburbs, such as Strathalbyn, Utakarra, Woorree, Deepdale and Moonyoonooka.

Climate data for Geraldton Airport, Moonyoonooka (1941–2014)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 47.7
(117.9)
47.3
(117.1)
45.2
(113.4)
39.7
(103.5)
36.6
(97.9)
29.5
(85.1)
29.0
(84.2)
31.6
(88.9)
36.1
(97)
40.7
(105.3)
43.8
(110.8)
46.8
(116.2)
47.7
(117.9)
Average high °C (°F) 31.6
(88.9)
32.6
(90.7)
31.0
(87.8)
27.7
(81.9)
24.1
(75.4)
20.9
(69.6)
19.5
(67.1)
20.1
(68.2)
22.1
(71.8)
24.5
(76.1)
27.2
(81)
29.6
(85.3)
25.9
(78.6)
Average low °C (°F) 18.3
(64.9)
19.2
(66.6)
17.9
(64.2)
15.4
(59.7)
12.9
(55.2)
10.9
(51.6)
9.4
(48.9)
8.9
(48)
9.3
(48.7)
11.0
(51.8)
13.9
(57)
16.4
(61.5)
13.6
(56.5)
Record low °C (°F) 9.4
(48.9)
10.0
(50)
8.8
(47.8)
6.1
(43)
2.1
(35.8)
0.5
(32.9)
-0.4
(31.3)
1.2
(34.2)
1.2
(34.2)
2.4
(36.3)
3.8
(38.8)
7.7
(45.9)
-0.4
(31.3)
Precipitation mm (inches) 5.7
(0.224)
11.1
(0.437)
15.9
(0.626)
23.8
(0.937)
69.5
(2.736)
97.2
(3.827)
91.3
(3.594)
64.7
(2.547)
32.0
(1.26)
19.6
(0.772)
9.1
(0.358)
5.3
(0.209)
442.4
(17.417)
Humidity 46 44 44 46 49 55 58 58 53 50 47 47 50
Avg. precipitation days 1.7 2.2 2.8 5.7 9.9 13.4 14.8 12.8 10.0 6.9 3.9 2.1 86.2

Geraldton Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.