Frequently Asked Questions - The Blue Heelers Hotel

We are devastated that the Blue Heelers Hotel in the West End of Marine Terrace was damaged by a fire last week. The building adds vibrancy to our CBD with its iconic artwork. Please be assured that the City along with the Liquidator of the building are working as efficiently as possible to ensure the public, local businesses and traffic can access the area normally once again.

In the meantime, here are some Frequently Asked Questions to provide clarity during this time:

How long will the road be closed?

  • Marine Terrace, between Fitzgerald Street and Cathedral Avenue, will remain closed until it is safe to reopen. The Liquidator is working hard to ensure this happens as soon as possible.

Are the businesses in the area open?

  • While the road is closed to vehicle traffic, pedestrian access is still available to most of the retailers and cafes. If you can, please support them during this time by visiting their store, shopping with them online or spreading the word that they are open.

Can any of the material, including artwork, be salvaged?

  • The site is unsafe and no one should enter to retrieve materials or artworks.

Has a demolition order been served?

  • Yes, a demolition order has been served and it is with the Liquidator for carrying out.

How come one side of the road can’t open to traffic?

  • The Blue Heelers Hotel building is structurally unsound and the road remains closed for community safety.

How much damage has occurred to the building?

  • No one has been able to safely enter the building to identify the extent of the damage due to it being structurally unsound.

How did the fire start?

  • Geraldton Detectives with the assistance of the Arson Squad are currently investigating the incident. Anyone who was in the area between 10.30pm on Thursday 18 February and 12.30am Friday 19 February 2021 and saw any suspicious activity or has a mobile phone or dash-cam vision is asked to contact Geraldton Police.

Does the City own the building?

  • The building is privately owned and the City are working with the Liquidator to ensure the area remains safe and the appropriate actions are expedited.

What will happen to the land once it is demolished?

  • It is up to the owners of the land.

When will it be demolished?

  • Once again, the City is working closely with the Liquidator on the demolition and to ensure community safety is upheld.

What is the City doing to support businesses in the area during this time?

  • City officers have visited businesses in the West End of Marine Terrace to check on business welfare. The City is also reigniting its ‘Geraldton is Open for Business’ campaign and promoting those affected through social media to encourage the community to get behind them and support local during this trying time.

What is the history of the building?

  • The Hotel opened on this site in 1862 and was built and owned by the first Mayor of Geraldton George Baston. You can read more about the history by clicking here.

Is Blue Heelers (former Victoria Hotel) State Heritage Listed?

  • No, however, it is included on the City's Municipal Inventory of Heritage Places.

Has asbestos been detected at the site?

  • Yes, asbestos has been detected and the demolition contractor will tackle the removal of this cement type first. The demolition contractor is highly experienced in asbestos removal and will undertake this process with all due caution.

What will happen to the surrounding buildings during demolition?

  • The demolition process is a complex task and will be undertaken with all due caution to protect surrounding buildings and other infrastructure.

More information about the building, including the history, is available by clicking here.