Historic trails through the Midwest

Published on Friday, 1 February 2019 at 12:49:00 PM

If history is your thing then you’ve come to the right place! Steeped in adventures and unbelievable stories to tell, here are some great historic trails to embark on in Geraldton.

HMAS Sydney II Memorial and Museum of Geraldton

Australia’s greatest naval tragedy is remembered at the HMAS Sydney II Memorial. As one of Geraldton’s most visited landmarks, make your way to the moving site honouring the 645 Australian sailors who lost their life off the coast during World War II. Once you’ve toured the various elements, or even taken one of the free daily tours, head to the Museum of Geraldton. Not only will you be able to witness the wreck of HMAS Sydney II 2,500 metres deep on the ocean floor in a moving exhibit and 3D film, you’ll also be able to learn all about the rich history of the Midwest region including the Batavia and Zuytdorp shipwrecks.

HMAS Sydney Memorial at dusk

War Years Drive

This self-drive tour spanning 200kms will take you about a day to complete. But if you don’t have that amount of time, just enjoy a few of the stops. Honouring the long association Geraldton has had with the military, this trail will take you on a journey to a number of different sites and places of significance. Taking you back through the ages – you’ll learn about Geraldton’s involvement in various wars. Locations include West End beaches, Olive Street Memorial, Marine Terrace, Geraldton Railway Station, Birdwood House, sites in Greenough, Mullewa and many more.

Old Stock Route Trail

Just one hour inland from Geraldton is the town of Mullewa. With a rich indigenous connection, it was also once an early European settlement. A Stock Route was created in the 1800s for sheep and cattle to be walked from stations in Mullewa to the Geraldton port as well as to provide access for travellers on foot, cart or horseback.  The 102km return drive trail retraces a portion of the Stock Route. You’ll visit sites including natural rockholes, a nature reserve, seasonal wildflowers and ancient river beds. You’ll be mesmerised by the stories of the land.

Saint Francis Xavier Cathedral and Monsignor Hawes Heritage Centre

Do you like to mix stunning architecture with your history? If so, this is a must! The Saint Francis Xavier Cathedral was designed by the internationally renowned priest-architect Monsignor John Hawes. Take in the beauty and history of this stunning cathedral with remarkable stonework, striking interior colours, spectacular stained glassed windows and finer design details that will leave you in awe.
After marvelling at the Cathedral, you’ll want to learn more so head next door to the Monsignor Hawes Heritage Museum. The state-of-the-art interpretive centre tells the story Monsignor Hawes through his own words with the use of diary entries, drawings and personal records.

Tip: Guided tours of Cathedral take place on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday at 2:30pm and on Fridays at 4pm. Tickets are $5 purchased from the Heritage Centre.

Internal shot of St Francis Xavier Cathedral courtesty of Debra MitchellCredit: Debra Mitchell

Victoria Hospital Trail

Travel back in time whilst completing the Victoria Hospital Trail. It might only be short in length at just 650 metres but it is rich in stories to tell. The beautiful stone buildings have a unique history having been a convict depot, Geraldton’s first hospital and a prison. Wander through what is now known as the Geraldton Heritage Precinct, Ngurra Barlunguu (Formerly Bill Sewell Complex) to learn about the historic area.

For more information on the various trails available in our region, call in to the Geraldton Visitor Centre at 246 Marine Terrace, Geraldton, WA 6530

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