HISTORY OF THE ORIGINAL RAILWAY STATION
The Visitor Centre occupies a beautiful heritage building that has had many uses over the years. Built as Western Australia’s first Government Railway Station, the foundation stone was laid on the 21 August 1878. With the discovery of gold in the Murchison, a new Railway Station was built off Durlacher Street and the old Railway Station was given a new use. On 8 August 1900 it became the Geraldton Mechanic’s Institute Library, with a second storey added in 1908. The new design allowed for a spacious balcony and superb view of the town and Champion Bay. Many locals used the Library over the years, including renowned Geraldton born author Randolph Stow, who immortalised the building in his semi-autobiographical work, The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea. In 1975, the Library was shifted to a new location and in 1979 the old Railway building was handed over to the WA Museum. When the WA Museum relocated to its new premises in 2000, the old Railway Station building lay vacant for many years. Its recent restoration and conversion into the City of Greater Geraldton Visitor Centre marks the beginning of an exciting new era for this grand old building.
For more information about the original Railway Station building, copies of the booklet Original Railway Station – Geraldton by Gary Martin or The Original Railway Station Geraldton Oral History Collection (Audio and transcript) may be purchased from the Visitor Centre or Geraldton Regional Library.