SOME GERALDTON FIRSTS


Geraldton can rightly claim many state and national ‘firsts’ which have occurred over the decades.

The first government owned railway in Western Australia was constructed between Geraldton and Northampton in 1874 mainly for the cartage of minerals.

The Point Moore Lighthouse was dismantled in England, transported to Geraldton and re-erected in 1878. It was the only light of its type in Australia.

Australia’s first royal airmail service was inaugurated in 1921, between Geraldton and Derby. It was flown from Geraldton by Norman Brierly.

The oldest government school in Western Australia to be continuously used for the purpose for which it was built, is the Geraldton Primary School built in 1878. The original stone building still forms the central part of the school.
Australia’s first ‘Miss Australia’ came from the Geraldton District. She was Miss Beryl Lucy Mills, who was born in Walkaway and crowned in 1926

Australia’s first commercial shipment of iron ore to Japan was through the port of Geraldton in 1966. A ceremony to mark the occasion was conducted by the Premier,

Sir David Brand, and a plaque to commemorate the occasion is fixed to a large boulder of iron ore at the Geraldton wharf.

Geraldton was the first centre in W.A. to establish a purpose-built facility for the performing arts by drawing $1 million as a grant from the state government’s ‘Regional Facilities Fund’ to build Queens Park Theatre in 1982.

Australia’s first woman to qualify as a male gymnastics coach was local woman, Rita Winch-Buist (Stinson). The honour was bestowed on her at the 1978 Mens National Gymnastics Coaching Clinic held in Canberra. Special guest at the clinic was the British Olympic Gymnastic Coach, John Atkinson.

Australia’s first and only Monumental Brass is to be found at the small Chapel at Utakarra Cemetery in Geraldton and was designed and installed by Monsignor John Hawes. The brass was made as a memorial to himself but, ironically, he left Australia in 1940 never to return to the area.

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