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Snapshot in Time: The history of the 160-year-old Hampton Arms south of Geraldton

Ben MarshGeraldton Guardian
The Hampton Arms circa 1978.
Camera IconThe Hampton Arms circa 1978. Credit: Scamp Collection, courtesy of Geraldton Regional Library 

Named after the Governor of WA at the time and first owned by a former alcohol smuggler, the Hampton Arms has a unique position in the history of the Mid West community.

Opened on May 1, 1863, the Hampton Arms was named after WA Governor John Hampton and is on a 12-acre property about 45 minutes drive south of Geraldton.

The hotel’s first owner was Francis Pearson, a former smuggler of alcohol who was also a fine blacksmith and built a workshop attached to the inn so he could repair travellers’ wagons and harnesses.

The fields surrounding the hotel were regularly used for sporting events, with one of the first cricket matches in the region played on a neighbouring paddock in 1865, with reports of an “excellent spread provided by Mr Pearson” making statewide news.

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Alastair and Robin McKechnie bought the dilapidated pub in 1978 and began the arduous task of restoring it. They opened a restaurant in 1979 before restoring the ballroom and relicensing the pub in 1981.

Mr McKechnie wrote a book detailing the process of restoring the pub, which can be found at the Geraldton Regional Library.

The McKechnies ran the establishment until 1984, when it was sold to Judy Kennington. Today, the Hampton Arms is no longer in business and is a private residence.

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

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