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Geraldton Regional Art Gallery celebrates Geraldton history with two new exhibitions

Jamie ThannooGeraldton Guardian
Peter Aarts and Doreen Dawson dance at the Geraldton Town Hall circa 1958.
Camera IconPeter Aarts and Doreen Dawson dance at the Geraldton Town Hall circa 1958. Credit: Image courtesy of Gilda Studio and Niel Bertelsen

Geraldton Regional Art Gallery is offering a glimpse into the city’s past with two new exhibitions set to launch.

Pieces such as photographs, paintings, maps and clothes from many archives, collections and local contributors have been brought together for The Town Hall 1907-1984 and The Banksia Ball 50th Anniversary exhibitions, opening at the end of the month.

The Town Hall 1907-1984 captures the history of a building at the heart of Geraldton, the Old Town Hall, which is now the very gallery where the exhibition is taking place.

Neil Bertelsen, who has provided photos for the exhibition, danced at the Town Hall during the 1960s and 70s and will take to the dance floor again for the the exhibition’s opening night.

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“It’s a nice look back, to dance on the floor I danced on 56 years ago,” Mr Bertelsen said.

“Its good for this town, that people can look back at its history.”

The Banksia Ball 50th Anniversary tells the story of the first major social event for Aboriginal people in Geraldton.

Jill Abdullah, a major contributor to the exhibition, is the daughter of George Abdullah, who organised the ball in 1972.

Ms Abdullah collected and held on to the memorabilia from a night she described as a landmark moment for Aboriginal history in Geraldton.

“It’s such an honour for people to recognise here 50 years ago that things for Aboriginal people started to change,” she said.

Just as the ball 50 years ago had been a collaboration of the Geraldton community, Ms Abdullah gave her gratitude to the city council, library, art gallery, and the many contributors who helped the exhibitions come together.

Both exhibitions will open at 6pm on Friday, September 30, and will run until Sunday, November 20.

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