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explorer George Grey. Grey was
walking back to Perth at the time
after being shipwrecked near Kalbarri. Early in the following year, an inspection of the site was carried out by Commander Dring in his colonial schooner “Champion”.
The bay was named after the ship by the Royal Navy hydrographic surveyor, J L Stokes, who surveyed it later in 1840.
In 1848 copper and lead were discovered on the Murchison River by explorer and surveyor Augustus Gregory. The following November, the Champion returned, soldiers came ashore on a 4km sandy beach here and raised the Union Jack on the tallest sand hill – Flagstaff Hill.
Champion Bay was to be the port for a lead mine on the Murchison and a supply base for the settlers taking up agricultural land on the Greenough flats. It also served as a military garrison to protect the settlers from
possible retaliatory attacks by Aboriginal people.
On 3rd June 1851 the townsite of
Geraldton was declared. The name
honours the Governor at that time. (Image P 7609 - Very early view of Geraldton, taken from Mount Scottc 1890s. Courtesy Siggins family.)
other premises. The building was renovated in 1989, and its court function continues today. (Image P 5060 - Rear view of Public Buildings along with Railway Station and Railway Jetty, c1910. Courtesy S. Douglas).
A persistent local rumour from the past was that at one time the large corner block changed hands for a bottle of rum.
Messrs O.& E.A.Trigg of Geraldton owned the site when tenders were called for construction of the hotel in March 1894. Project architect was Mr H.S.Trigg of Perth and Mr Orde Powell the builder. By August 1895 the ornate hotel was the talk of the town and a thriving business under the guidance of Messrs Jones & Inglis from South Australia.
Twenty rooms were on the ground floor including a dining room of 60 persons capacity, servery, kitchen, pantry, scullery, luggage room and a reading and smoking room.
A wide Western Australian jarrah set of stairs accessed the upper floor.
A wide balcony extended around three sides of the building, giving guests a fine view of the sea as they relaxed of an evening. Favoured guests were given access to the hotel's dominant tower which gave a unique elevated view over Marine Terrace buildings, the Railway Jetty and other features.
(Image P 1100 - Freemason's Hotel, Marine Terrace, 1892. Caption courtesy N. Thompson).
pioneer pastoralists and businessmen. At one stage the Wittenoom Brothers held over two million acres (809,380 ha) in crown leases in the Murchison and set up Murgoo, Boolardy, Nookawarra, Mileura and Belele Stations. (Image P 125 - Marine Terrace, looking west, with Wittenoom Building to left, 1939. Courtesy T. Budd).
on Marine Terrace were also demolished in the name of progress.
(Image P 2146 - Bishop's Palace, c1930. Courtesy C. Shaw).
opened to 100 students in 1879, replacing a school in what is now the Missions to Seafarers building on Marine Terrace. This is one of the oldest continuously used schools in the state outside the Perth metropolitan area. (Image P 631 - Geraldton Primary School, c1950. Courtesy GRL).
a lantern was lit here at night as a beacon for approaching sailing ships.
When the Railway Jetty became too shallow for modern steamships, a new land-backed wharf, with deep dredged water was built. The ‘land’ for the land-backed wharf was sand that came from here at Flagstaff Hill.
In 1929 a horses and drays, together with a steam shovel loaded trains with sand. From here they travelled on a temporary railway down Gregory
Street ferrying fill to behind the wharf.
The hill slowly disappeared. (Image P 997 - Flagstaff Hill, 1930s. Courtesy S. Gratte).
Commission building and in 1913 large aerials were built behind it.
During World War One, this was an important facility needed to maintain
contact with ships in the Indian Ocean. To protect it a detachment of the Citizen Force Guard kept watch here. (Image P 7410 - Off duty members of the Citizen Force Guard and their army bell tents at the OTC Station, 1914. Courtesy SLWA).
always here. Just as the commercial hub of the port initially moved
around over the decades, so too has the Customs House followed it. This office was built in 1935 following the construction of the major reinforced concrete berth at West End in 1931. It remains in use today as the office for the Australian Border Force. (Image P 2070 - North West Mounted Police, 1888. Courtesy GRL).
1893, the role of Gregory Street jetty
shifted from shipping to recreation.
For decades The Esplanade was the
social gathering point for all Geraldton residents, and even a tourist attraction for people in the hot inland goldfields. Here they could enjoy its promenade, bandstand, swimming baths and beach shelters, boating clubs, and of course
the kids playground with the merry-go-round. (Image P 995 - Town Beach, c1900. Courtesy E. Jupp).
Trails WA supports the seven principles recommended by Leave No Trace Australia for minimising your impacts when using the trails.Learn more
About Waterfront Heritage Trail, Geraldton
The Waterfront Heritage Trail is part of a series of trails that will take you on a historic journey through the Geraldton CBD.
Start at the Dome Cafe on the Foreshore and follow the square markers located along the trail.
Enjoy a journey through time with a walk through some of the cities earliest streets and buildings. See how Champion Bay evolved into a busy port; and how the town of 4000 people transformed during World War II to accommodate 40,000 military personnel.
Learn how the original rail line that cut the town off from the beach was moved to develop the stunning Foreshore you see today.
Be trail ready for Waterfront Heritage Trail, Geraldton
Here is everything you need to know before visiting this trail.
Time / Duration
Up to 1 hour
What To Pack
Group A (Urban trails or short trails near facilities) required.
What To Pack
Group A (Urban trails or short trails near facilities)
- Full large water bottle per person.
- Sun hat or bike helmet (compulsory in WA).
- Sunglasses, sunscreen (30+) and insect repellant.
- Clothes to suit the activity and potential weather conditions (See suggestions below).
- Binoculars and camera (optional).
The trail starts and ends at Dome
- Access with assistance for the Disabled
- BBQ Facilities
- Bicycle Path
- Car Park
- Child Activities
- Dog Friendly
- Parking for Disabled
- Picnic Area
- Public Telephone
- Public Toilet
- Shaded Area
- Visitor Information Centre
Best time of year
Enjoyable throughout the year
Air, bus or drive from Perth
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Supported by great organisations
Trails are free and bring so many benefits to our community by providing opportunities to have fun, get fit, socialise, explore and challenge yourself. But they also have to be managed and maintained which only is made possible through terrific sponsors, donations and/or volunteering.
The trail follows the Waterfront.
Start and end at Dome Cafe.
Follow the square markers.
There are numerous places to stop for refreshments along the route.
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