Civic Centre celebrates 60-year milestone

Published on Friday, 24 March 2023 at 8:26:45 AM

Picture Caption: A crowd gathers at the opening of the Geraldton Civic Centre by Queen Elizabeth II in 1963. Picture courtesy of: Jim Lowrie.

It was 60 years ago today that the Geraldton Civic Centre was officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

A sea of spectators lined Cathedral Avenue on Sunday 24 March 1963 for the momentous occasion which saw the building officially open, and it is still being utilised to this day.

From various changes over the years including multiple renovations, as well as being home to services such as the Library – the Civic Centre has remained a central building for the community.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said the building’s history had seen some very historic milestones.

“To this day, the Civic Centre remains a prominent building which holds a lot of local significance to our community,” he said.

“You could ask anyone and they’d tell you they were in the company of royalty right here, they remember attending the Library many moons ago, or attending the Centre for tasks such as voting in local elections or attending Council Meetings.

“It’s safe to say, most of our local population would have come into contact with this very historic building.”

After World War II, the Geraldton population had almost tripled in size from 4,500 to 12,000 people. This growth prompted the Councillors of the day to approve the need for a new Civic Centre – coupled with the need for expanding administrative services.

The old Municipal Offices (site of present day GRAG Park) had been in use since 1897 and had more than served their purpose

In 1963 the new Civic Centre was then completed and officially opened.

In July 1968, the former Library was officially opened at the Civic Centre before it was renovated in 1993 – and then moved to its Marine Terrace Location in 2010.

In 1988, extensive renovations took place and Her Majesty the Queen returned to officially re-open the Centre on 22 April – which also marked the proclamation of the City of Geraldton.

Significant internal refurbishments took place in 2007, when the amalgamation of the City of Geraldton and Shire of Greenough took place.

The Civic Centre still houses administration services, several City of Greater Geraldton departments, as well as Council Chambers.

This year marks two other momentous milestones with Mullewa’s Doc Docherty Pool celebrating its 60th anniversary and 20 years since the completion of the Geraldton Foreshore stage one.

The Doc Docherty Pool officially opened to the Mullewa public on 9 February 1963 and has been a staple in the local community ever since.

It has undergone various upgrades, and in 2021 the pool was officially named the ‘Doc Docherty Pool’ after the late Dr Patrick John Docherty, who was an active member of the Mullewa community and an avid pool user.

Dr Docherty passed away in July 2012 and is remembered for many acts of kindness and someone who went above and beyond his duty as a Medical Practitioner.

In February 2023, community members gathered for a special celebration to commemorate the anniversary. 

June will also mark 20 years since the completion of the Foreshore redevelopment and revitalisation project stage one.

Completion of stage one represented a major milestone in the redevelopment which included the official opening of the Foreshore playgrounds.

For more information on Geraldton’s heritage, head to the Library’s website.

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