1956 hotel beer garden lashed by cyclone

Neville ThompsonGeraldton Guardian
Waves pound the beer garden of Shepheard’s Hotel and a rail wagon on the Geraldton foreshore railway line in 1956.
Camera IconWaves pound the beer garden of Shepheard’s Hotel and a rail wagon on the Geraldton foreshore railway line in 1956. Credit: Supplied/Billie Shepheard

A tropical cyclone with winds up to 140km/h lashed Geraldton over March 3 and 4, 1956, causing extensive damage both in the town and the region.

Damage to the foreshore was estimated at $400,000 despite the protection of a massive rock seawall.

Stranded at the wharf was the freighter Cape St David which had berthed to load bulk wheat.

The exceptional winds whipped up large waves which pounded the freighter against the wharf, causing extensive damage to both the vessel and wharf.

During the battering, big tyres were lowered on ropes over the side of the freighter to try and minimise the damage.

This view of the windblown waves smashing into the foreshore shows part of the beer garden of Shepheard’s Hotel, the garden being left covered in a dense layer of seaweed. In the left background a timber swimming dolphin was almost submerged as waves pounded shoreward.

A sole rail wagon left on the foreshore railway line was lashed by flying spray but escaped damage.

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

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