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Snapshot - Town Hall Festivities

Published on Tuesday, 23 February 2021 at 9:10:00 AM

Town Hall Festivities by Lorin Cox

The crowds gathered, the people rejoiced and the music played for the opening of the Geraldton Town Hall on 12 July 1907. One can only imagine the excitement and buzz preceding such an occasion. The first movement for the erection of a town hall was made in 1896 when the Council invited competitive designs, but did not proceed further at that stage. In 1906 the proposal to erect a town hall was revived leading to the foundation stone being laid on the 28 January 1907.

The occasion pictured was attended by a party of dignitaries from Perth, including His Excellency the Governor, Sir Frederick Bedford and Lady Bedford who were assigned the duty of officially opening the building. The Daily News (Perth) reported that the local residents provided a warm welcome to the party upon their arrival with the cadets forming a guard of honour, followed by very hospitable entertainment at the residence of Mr. A. Clinch. The party then continued on to the Freemasons Hotel for lunch and punctually arrived at the Town Hall building at 3pm where official proceedings commenced, beginning with the National Anthem performed by the City Band amid decorative bunting aplenty.

In the early 1980’s, what was once the Old Town Hall was under threat of demolition, however, the community rallied in the form of Friends of the Town Hall and the building, originally designed by Oldham and Cox was saved. Following renovations the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery was opened in the building in 1984.

This event was quite major for Geraldton during the early years of local government so it seems quite pertinent to publish this caption in the year 2021 which marks the 150th year of Local Government in WA.

Caption: Geraldton Town Hall Official Opening 1907, courtesy of Joy Clinch.

Caption by Lorin Cox.

Snapshots is an initiative of the Geraldton Regional Library. For more information, or to donate a historical photo or slide to the Library, contact Heritage Services at the Geraldton Regional Library on 9956 6659 or library@cgg.wa.gov.au

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