OPINION: Wrecking ball the only fate for some Geraldton buildings

Grant WoodhamsGeraldton Guardian
Demolition site of the old fire station on Durlacher Street.
Camera IconDemolition site of the old fire station on Durlacher Street.

I was trying to remember what was on the corner of Durlacher Street and Chapman Road before the “Golden Arches Restaurant” was built sometime back in the last decade of the 20th century.

I think it might have been a service station. And no doubt the service station replaced a former building.

What was there before?

Some of you will remember a well-organised campaign to defend what was then the Geraldton Town Hall, which was on the other side of the road from the restaurant mentioned above.

Fortunately it was successful, and the town hall eventually became our regional art gallery — a lasting reminder of one of our more beautiful buildings.

The reason for my trying to remember what was on that corner is that in recent times there have been a couple of well-publicised demolitions of two of our downtown buildings: the fire station on the corner of Durlacher and Anzac Terrace, and the Victoria Hotel/Blue Heelers Tavern on Marine Terrace.

Yesterday, the site was clear of rubble with minor alterations still to occur.
Camera IconYesterday, the site was clear of rubble with minor alterations still to occur. Credit: Geraldton Guardian

The fire station was no great loss. A dull, drab 1960s building, it didn’t get to the starting line in the heritage stakes, and it was said to contain asbestos. Sadly, the Old Vic had considerable heritage, but it was too damaged by fire to save.

I have to tell you that despite my hopes for a demolition trifecta, the Batavia Inne on Fitzgerald Street still sits as a festering tribute to red tape. I’ll sign the petition to have it knocked down. In fact I’ll even help — just lend me a hammer.

I’ll do the job for free. I’m sure some of you will help.

A paint job that never quite got finished at the Batavia Inn.
Camera IconA paint job that never quite got finished at the Batavia Inn. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

In my opinion there are also several other buildings in the Marine Terrace, Fitzgerald Street and Lester Avenue precinct that would be improved considerably by their total removal.

Some of them are derelict.

Speaking of demolitions, those of you who pass up and down the Brand Highway on a regular basis will have noticed the service station that sat on the outskirts of Dongara just before you cross over the railway bridge no longer exists.

It sat unused and unloved for quite a few years, but now its demise is complete.

It’s a great outcome, from my perspective.

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