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Marine Terrace Heritage Trail

Urban Walk

(+1)
Cycle
inCoral Coast

  • 1-3 hours
  • 2 km

The Marine Terrace Heritage Trail is just under 2 km and suitable for all abilities. It starts at Dome Café on the Foreshore and then takes you along Marine Terrace,  past some fine examples of Victorian, Federation and Art Deco architecture.

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Trail Start

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The trail starts at Dome Café on the foreshore

Construction of Geraldton’s first jetty
took place near here in 1857. Initially only 35m long and less than 2m wide, the Gregory Street Jetty (also known as the Esplanade Jetty) was built of jarrah of cut in the Perth Hills and shipped in. Sailing ships anchored at Two Mile Buoy to unload their cargo into lighters – smaller craft able to take the goods to the jetty. The Gregory Street precinct became the business centre of the settlement. Police, courthouse and customs buildings were located here. Hotels, blacksmiths and shipping warehouses also sprang up nearby. (Image P 859 - Very early photograph of the Gregory Street Jetty, showing shipping congestion, c1890. Courtesy N. Thompson).

When the Railway Jetty was built in
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).

Image P 1462 - Marine Terrace, with railway in place, prior to construction of new Jetty at Durlacher Street, c1890. Courtesy State Library of Victoria.

This area of the town was the early centre of Geraldton. It had the first hotel, first post office, bank, courthouse, bond store, railway station, school and merchants. In addition, it also had most of the residents. (Image P 9903 - Old Court House and Bond Store, c1920. Courtesy SLWA).

The Original Railway Station was Western Australia's first Government Railway Station and was completed in 1879. With the onset of the Murchison Goldrush in the 1890s, the Gregory Street Jetty was replaced with the Railway Jetty, in order to cope with the increased volume of goods coming into the Port. This building was saved from demolition in 1900 when it was converted to the Geraldton Mechanic's Institute Library. It remained in use as a Library until it was taken over by the WA Museum in 1979. When the Museum relocated in 2000, the Original Railway Station remained vacant for many years. From 2014-2020 it was occupied by the Geraldton Visitor Centre. Check out the old Fifty Cent Swing, immortalised by author Randolph Stow, in "The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea". (Image P 560 - Geraldton Mechanic's Institute Library, with Railway Jetty in background, c1930. Courtesy S. Thomas.

In the years of the Great Depression
of the 1930s, maintaining a sense
of optimism was a vital survival skill for any community. Here at Geraldton, events like the opening of the new Yacht Club in 1932 and the construction of the new Radio Theatre Building here in 1937, were occasions for people to kick back and look to better times ahead. Hollywood also played its part. (Image P 11289 - Opening of Radio Theatre, 1937. Courtesy N. Margetic).

This building was originally constructed in 1939 as the new Commonwealth Bank premises for Geraldton. The reputation of the banking sector had taken a battering in the depression years of the 1930s with bank failures occurring across the globe following the 1929 Wall Street meltdown. (Image P 1207 - Leaving the Commonwealth Bank, c1950. Courtesy J. Lowrie).

Over a game of billiards, or a drink in the lounge, prominent and influential
businessmen of the town, pastoralists and mine owners cut deals in the exclusive confines of Geraldton Gentlemens Club. The club was founded in 1885 and its members met initially at the adjacent Hannah Hoskens Club Hotel. The Club
premises were built here in 1913. (Image P 790 - Marine Terrace, looking east, c1950s. Courtesy L. Blakeney).

The Wittenoom Building was built for Edward and Frank Wittenoom,
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).

For eighty five years from 1894 until its demolition in 1979, the Colonial Post Office with its distinctive tower standing proudly above the roadway was located just across from
you here on Marine Terrace.
Soon after its opening, control of the
post office passed to the newly created Commonwealth Postmaster-Generals Department on 1 March 1901. In 1970 the Postmaster-Generals Department announced that due to the prosperity of the region, within five years Geraldton would have a new larger post office to deal with the increased business.
The old post office was vacated and the building was offered to various
community groups. No takers however were found and the building was demolished in 1979. As part of the Marine Terrace mall project in 1994, the stone from the original post office was used to create a screening wall, and public open space. In 2019 the “Ghost Office” was constructed as part of the Rocks Laneway Project. (Image P 8418 - Central Marine Terrace, with Post Office to left, 1900. Courtesy I. Cramer).

Batavia Park honours the memory of the victims and survivors of the Batavia shipwreck which occured on the 4 June 1629 at Morning Reef, near Beacon Island (part of the Houtman Abrolhos). The Batavia was a ship of the Dutch East India Company. A catastrophic chain of events followed the wreck, leading to mutiny, murder and a heroic rescue story. Learn more about the Batavia at the Museum of Geraldton.

Finish this walk at Ilgarijiri - a cast bronze and ceramic sculpture which evolved from the interpretation of two paintings – The Emu in the Sky by Margaret Whitehurst (Wajarri) and The Seven Sisters and the Hunter by Barbara Merritt (Badimaya).
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Learn more

Following a leisurely stroll along the Foreshore, take in historic Marine Terrace.  Your walk includes a stop at the original Geraldton Railway Station - WA's first Government Railway Station building - opened in 1879.  Enjoy other fine examples of Victorian, Federation and Art Deco buildings along this walk.  There are plenty of shopping, coffee and eating places to enjoy, along with an opportunity to learn more about local Aboriginal culture at Yamaji Art.  This walk includes a visit to the Batavia Memorial - a sad tale of shipwreck and treachery.  Finish this walk at Ilgarijiri - a cast bronze and ceramic sculpture which evolved from the interpretation of two paintings – The Emu in the Sky by Margaret Whitehurst (Wajarri) and The Seven Sisters and the Hunter by Barbara Merritt (Badimaya).

Cast your mind back to 1880 and imagine a railway line heading straight down Marine Terrace.  In the years from 1860-70 Geraldton quickly developed into a bustling port town and a rail link to the lead mines at Northampton became a priority.  Western Australia's first Government Railway Station (prior to Perth and Fremantle) was completed in 1879, connecting the old Gregory Street Jetty (built 1857) to Northampton along Marine Terrace and then out past Bluff Point, along some 33 miles of rail. 

The discovery of the Murchison Goldfields led the town to further prosper and various businesses were soon established along the Terrace.  Fine Federation buildings constructed of local White Peak stone graced the streetscape.  The construction of a new, much larger jetty at the end of Durlacher Street (the Railway Jetty) in 1893 led to the removal of the rail tracks from Marine Terrace.

In later years, Marine Terrace continued to play a central role in the life of the town.  The development of the Foreshore led to many businesses along Marine Terrace taking advantage of the scenic views and access to Champion Bay. Today, the original "High Street" still offers an interesting and bespoke shopping experience.

Geraldton Visitor Centre

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Be trail ready for Marine Terrace Heritage Trail

Here is everything you need to know before visiting this trail.

Time / Duration

Up to 1 hour

Length

2km loop

What To Pack

Group A (Urban trails or short trails near facilities) required.

Trail Start

The trail starts at Dome Café on the foreshore

Get directions

Trail End

Facilities

  • Access with assistance for the Disabled
  • BBQ Facilities
  • Bicycle Path
  • Cafe
  • Car Park
  • Child Activities
  • Dog Friendly
  • Parking for Disabled
  • Picnic Area
  • Public Toilet
  • Shaded Area
  • Shop
  • Toilet Facilities for Disabled

Best time of year

Enjoyable throughout the year

Fees

Free

Trail Access

Air, bus or drive from Perth

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