Geraldton Museum – touching maritime stories

HMAS Sydney II Memorial

Despite the heavy clouds hanging over us, we made it to Geraldton without getting rained on.

Geraldton is a coastal city located in the Mid West region of Western Australia. It is situated approximately 424 kilometers north of Perth and is the fourth-largest city in the state. The city boasts a rich maritime history, with numerous shipwrecks occurring in its waters over the centuries

We were able to explore the town, which is beautifully located by the ocean. The city center has been restored in recent years and is now a pleasant area to stroll through.

We were particularly intrigued by the new houses, which were built to resemble small period houses and had a unique character. Our main destination was the Geraldton Museum, which offered fascinating exhibits about the town’s maritime history.

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HMAS Sydney II Memorial

On the way, we also stopped to see a monument in honor of the HMAS Sydney sailors who died during World War II. It was Australia’s biggest sea disaster with 645 people lost at sea.

The dome of the monument is made up of 645 seagulls symbolising these people. Next to the monument is a statue of a woman looking out to sea, standing strong in the face of the ocean, looking for the ship that will never return.

HMAS Sydney II Memorial - woman statue
HMAS Sydney II Memorial – woman statue

HMAS Sydney’s fate was unknown for 60 years, and no one knew what had happened to the ship. In 2008, its location was finally discovered, and it was confirmed that the German torpedoes had inflicted so much damage that not a single lifeboat was launched, and the ship sank almost immediately.

Interestingly, the German SS Kormoran also sank as a result of the battle, but only a few sailors died on that ship.

HMAS Sydney II Memorial
HMAS Sydney II Memorial

Our campsite gives off a ghost town vibe – not because of any ghosts, but because everything looks run down. Despite displaying four stars on the entry board, it seems like it’s seen better days.

We plan to stay in Geraldton until tomorrow.

Marius is excited to go fishing, while Nell wants to explore the huge playground. We also want to visit the remains of the Danish Batavia ship, which sank in this area in the 17th century.

As the evening approached, the heavy clouds cleared, and we were treated to a breathtaking sunset – the sky was painted with colors.

Geraldton Sunset
Geraldton Sunset

The car struggled to start for a long time in the morning, and we thought it was its last breath. However, it turned out that it had summoned the last remnants of its strength and managed to start up the engine. We have to get to Perth to fix it, but time is ruining out.

The next day, we planned to visit the Geraldton Museum, which tells the maritime stories of the many wrecks that sank around Geraldton.

Geraldton Museum

We visited the Geraldton Museum and were captivated by the amazing exhibition of artifacts from the Batavia, a Dutch merchant ship that was making its maiden voyage off the coast of Australia.

Batavia story

The Batavia crashed on a nearby reef in 1629. The surviving crew managed to reach a nearby uninhabited island.

Several members of the crew set sail on a lifeboat to seek help, but the self-proclaimed leader ended up killing some of the survivors in order to hoard food and water for himself and his followers.

Help eventually arrived a few days later, and the leader was arrested, but many people had already died. The ship had been carrying valuable goods, including silver coins, spices, and ceramics.

Geraldton Museum
Geraldton Museum

Some of the goods from the Batavia were recovered in the aftermath of the shipwreck, but many more were lost until they were rediscovered in the 1960s. Today, the collection of artifacts is very rich and provides a fascinating glimpse into the life and times of Dutch sailors in the 17th century.

Visitors can admire old cannons, a deck bell, coins, everyday items, and even the stone entrance to the church that was part of the ship’s cargo.

In addition to the Batavia, the Geraldton Museum is home to a variety of other fascinating maritime stories. The Shipwrecks Gallery features displays and exhibits on the Golden Dragon, Zuytdorp, Zeewijk, and many other notable wrecks.

You can learn about the history of these ships, the challenges faced by their crews, and the efforts made to preserve and protect their legacies.

Huge playground and Footy Finals

We had lunch at a large playground, where Nell spent her time playing and didn’t have time to sit down and eat anything. She wolfed down her food on the go.

Later on, Marius became nervous as it was the footy finals and he couldn’t get a good signal on our antenna. Eventually, he was able to catch the match on a tiny TV in the kitchen and returned to us beaming with joy, as his team had won.

Nell really enjoyed our trip around Australia

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Greenough River Nature Trail – south of Geraldton, it is a picturesque 17 km walk surrounding Greenough River. It offers beautiful views over the river.

Coalseam Conservation Park – located 110 km east of Geraldton. It is a place where the first coal deposit was found in Western Australia. In the park marine fossils embedded on the banks of Irwine River as signs of the time when the park was covered by a Permian sea. The fossils can be seen in the cliff face upstream of the Riverbend Picnic Area. 

There is a nice, 3.2 km Plateau Loop Trail that begins at Miners campground and meanders through a eucalypt woodland.

Camping is also available at Miners Campground.

Chapman River Regional Park Nature Trail – located in Geraldton it is a 10.8 km nature walk that was created to highlight the Chapman River’s ecological significance in the region.

On the walk, you can see many interesting animals like echidnas, possums, parrots, kangaroos, geckos, frogs and many more.

This trail is normally used for hiking, walking or mountain biking.

Definitely yes. You can take a fast ferry, flight or charter boat. There are many tours available: half-day, full-day, 5 days. I would recommend staying at least a few days to soak the atmosphere of the surrounding coral reef.

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