- Geraldton, Western Australia
Infobox Australian Place | type = city
name = Geraldton
state = Western Australia
caption = Location of Geraldton
pop = 31,553
pop_footnotes = [Census 2006 AUS|id=5083|name=Geraldton (WA) (Statistical District)|quick=on|accessdate=2008-10-02]
poprank = 42nd
est = 1850
area = 189
lga = Geraldton-Greenough
stategov = Geraldton
fedgov = O'Connor
dist1 = 424 | dir1 = NNW | location1 = Perthcoord|-28.779|114.607|type:city(31553)_region:AU-WA_scale:50000|format=dms|display=title
Geraldton is a city and port in
Western Australialocated convert|424|km|mi|0|lk=on north of Perth. According to the 2006 census, Geraldton has a population of 31,553, making it the fifth-largest city in Western Australia.
Today the city is an important centre for mining, fishing, wheat, sheep and tourism.
Though many European maritime explorers encountered or were even wrecked on the
Houtman Abrolhosislands convert|60|km|mi|0 west of Geraldton in the 17th and 18th centuries, there seems to be no evidence that any made landfall near the site of the current town. The first European to explore the area was George Grey in 1839. A decade later the explorer Augustus Gregorytravelled through the area. He discovered lead on the Murchison River and the mine which was subsequently established was named "Geraldine" after the Governor Charles Fitzgerald. The town of Geraldton was gazetted in 1850.
The construction of the St Francis Xavier Catholic Cathedral started in 1916 but was not completed until 1938. The cathedral was designed by Monsignor John Hawes who was both an architect and a priest.
The Anglican Cathedral just a 2 minute walk south along Cathedral Ave has been known for having various pro-god messages on the sign embedded in the verge. A recent one stated "Wikipedia doesn't have all the answers". [http://member-6p00fa9687817a0002.vox.com/library/post/the-power-of-humour.html The Power of Humour - Vox]
The lighthouse located on Point Moore was recently repainted and established as another cultural attraction of Geraldton.
Geraldton's public high school, John Willcock College is famous for having been attended by
Ernie Dingo. Also recently the school became the first in Australia to have a laptop programme with all students being provided with Apple Notebook Computers for study purposes.
HMAS Sydney was lost off the coast north west of Geraldton and there is a memorial overlooking the city. After years of searching, the wreck of HMAS Sydney was discovered north of Geraldton, 150 kilometres (81 nmi) from
Shark Bayon March 16, 2008.
A popular past time of Geraldton Locals is
surfing. The [http://www.gerosurf.com.au Geraldton Boardriders Association] runs surf events throughout the year and [http://surf2skool.com Surf2skool] , Geraldton's only surf school offers developing surfers lessons, trips and coaching. Popular surf spots include Flat Rocks, Back Beach, Greenough, Glenfield, and Sunset Beach.
Geraldton is also an internationally renowned
windsurfinglocation. The most popular spot is Coronation Beach, located just north of the town. "Coro" is a spectacular port tack jumping site, with flat water on the inside and unhindered Indian Oceanrolling swell offshore. In the late afternoon, the wind swings a little more offshore and starboard tack waveridingbecomes possible.
Geraldton is also home to a flourishing
horse racingindustry, that since 1887 hosts the annual Geraldton Gold Cup. The 2007 Geraldton Gold Cupwas won by the Clive Lauritzen trained 8yr old TapDog. The race was historically significant. Tapdog became the first horse to win the race three times, Clive Lauritsen became the first trainer to win the race 6 times, Roy McKay became the first jockey to win the race three times, and owners Peter Day, Jeannette Day, and Hans Hoiskar equalled the most wins by an owner in three. The race also passed the million dollar mark for the first time in tote turnover.
Geraldton is serviced by most mobile phone companies such as Telstra, Vodafone and Optus. These are on the 2G network, while Telstra's newer 3G network, NextG, is available. 3G coverage, apart from NextG, is not available. Coverage of Optus and Vodafone is quickly limited once leaving the CBD.
North of Geraldton is the town of Northampton, as well as the
Hutt River Province, an area which claims to be an independent nation since its self-proclaimed secessionfrom Western Australia in 1969.
Houtman Abrolhosislands are 60 km to the west of Geraldton. They are famous for the 1629 wreck of the Batavia. A stone portico recovered from the wreck has been reconstructed at the local museum, along with other artifacts.
Twenty-five kilometres south of Geraldton near Walkaway a
windfarmwas completed in August 2005. It consists of 54 turbines, each producing 1.8 MW and 80 metres high with 40 metre blades.
The original port has be dredged to a depth of 9.4m at the berths, which is suitable for ships of DWT|64,000|metric|first=yes.
In 2006, it was proposed to establish a new deepwater port at
Oakajee, about 25km north of Geraldton. This port would serve the mining industry, especially iron ore.
Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station
The Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station (ADSCS) is located at Kojarena, inland near Geraldton. The ADSCS is part of the US signals intelligence and analysis network
ECHELON. [cite news |title= Tracking down the masters of terror |url= http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/03/16/1047749659596.html |work= The Age|date=17 March 2003 |accessdate=2008-02-22] [cite news |first=Gary |last=Adshead |title=Secret WA spy base |work=The Sunday Times |date=10 June 2001 |page=20] The station has four satellite tracking dishes which intercept communications from Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Pakistani regional satellites [http://www.canf.org/2006/1in/ensayos/2006-may-29-interception.htm] and international communications satellites ( INTELSATs and COMSATs), throughout the Indian Ocean and South-East Asian regions. Staff are drawn from the American National Security Agencyand the Australian Defence Signals Directorate, and the site is operated under the UKUSA Agreement. [http://world-information.org/wio/infostructure/100437611746/100438659207/?ic=100446325884]
On 15 February 2007, it was announced that a new US military communications base would be built in Geraldton, after three years of secret negotiations between the US and the Australian Federal Government. [Brendan Nicholson. [http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2007/02/14/1171405295243.html US gets military base in Western Australia] .
The Age, 15 February 2007.]
Geraldton's public transport is primarily buses, owned by Geraldton Bus Service. The company has a school bus run, which has around 15 route services for school services, and about 8 services during the day. School services are 50c each way if purchased in a group of 10. Tickets vary from age, with under 16's paying 90c per ticket.
Images of Geraldton
* [http://www.cgg.wa.gov.au City of Geraldton-Greenough]
* [http://www.museum.wa.gov.au/oursites/geraldton/geraldton.asp Western Australian Museum - Geraldton]
* [http://www.hmassydney.com.au HMAS Sydney II Memorial Geraldton]
* [http://www.gpa.wa.gov.au/ Geraldton Port Authority]
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