By Nicky Way
On a stretch of coastline called Batavia, 424km north of Perth, you'll find Geraldton. It's the mid-west capital of Australia's most western state.
Geraldton is just a one-hour flight from Perth, or around four hours travelling the vast open roads. With a population of just under 37,000 (ABS) the town is booming, thanks to an ever increasing demand for iron ore and other resources.
(By the by, other natural resources of the area include former Ausssie rules football great Chris Mainwaring and Rove McManus’ actress wife Tasma Walton.)
Mines not too far from Geraldton include Crossland Resources' Jack Hill mine and Sinosteel’s Koolanooka and Blue Hills operations. The bigger iron ore mines are run out of the Pilbara by BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals and they utilise FIFO workers from towns like Geraldton.
Other resources exported from the mid-west include nickel, gold, oil, gas, mineral sands, copper, zinc, lead concentrate, talc and garnet. Iron ore is the biggest resource export for WA, but it’s not the biggest resource for the mid-west: that prize goes to gold!
Other industries supporting Geraldton include: rock lobster fisheries, agriculture, manufacturing, construction, tourism and (as of 2005) wind farms.
There’s not much wind at Stirling and Northgate Central Centro shopping centres, though, just a lot of cool air for your retail therapy. Between them they have a great range of variety stores and department stores like Woolworths, Coles and Target.
When it’s time to pick up the kids you’ll find them at any one of a number of learning centres. Education wise there are Catholic, Christian and Anglican schools in the area, as well as public primary and high schools and the other centres you’d expect like playgroup, daycare and kindergarten.
If your kids get sick there’s help on hand, too. Geraldton offers GP services, dental, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology, podiatry, psychology and more - not to mention a choice of public and private hospitals as well as the Royal Flying Doctor who goes out to remote regions like Wiluna, Sandstone, Cue and Yalgoo.
For leisure there’s the Sunshine Festival, windsurfing, kitesurfing, fishing, diving, art appreciation or just a lazy stroll along the shoreline.
The Dutch explorers from the good ship Batavia enjoyed Geraldton: surely you will too!
"I grew up here, and as far as raising a family here it is GREAT! I returned about six months ago and am loving some of the changes that have happened since I left. The foreshore has had a complete transformation, everything is becoming even more family friendly. There is a large number of families that do FIFO/DIDO work from Gero. Also, with smaller mines starting up, there are even more opportunities around. If you like sports there are lots to get involved with under or on the ocean, on land or even the sky! Some people will say it's a boring place but really it is what you make it ... and if a laid-back, beach life is what you want on R&R, it's perfect. Far better than the hussle and bussle of a busy city any day. Also worth noting:
- Jessica Chan, Geraldton
"We love Geraldton because it has fantastic facilities like Aquareena, Sydney Memorial, Foreshore playground and water park, world class windsurfing and surfing/boogie board beaches, large library and new museum the list goes on. I think that every sport imaginable is available for adults and children and we have a wide variety of shops. We have the luxury of six flights per day to Perth and many FIFO families live here. We are very close to lovely short holiday destinations like the outback during winter and places like Kalbarri, Shark Bay, Dongara, Abrolhos Islands and the Mingenew Coalseam. Each year the local business, sporting, community groups and local Shires make a huge effort for the Sunshine Festival, Blessing of the Fleet, Windsurfing and Kitesurfing events, Speedway, BMX, showjumping and go carts. Within a couple of hours of Geraldton there are many places for families to go camping and fishing."
- Katrina Foulkes-Taylor, Geraldton
Ever lived in Geraldton? Tell us what it's like!