Day 1,761 of Traveling the World | Geraldton, Australia | December 2, 2022

Geraldton was a great cruise stop. What? You’ve never heard of it?? Well – neither had we! The port was industrial, so we were forbidden to walk through. But that meant that the city provided free shuttle buses that took us to the middle of town. There was a really lavish shopping street that went on for many blocks, with stores, restaurants, bakeries, and cafes. Many of the buildings date to the early 19th century, and they were mostly kept up and taken care of.

We spent a bit of time in St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, which made us gasp as we entered. It is like walking into a Moorish mosque in Spain, with gorgeous stripes everywhere. Apparently, originally, the background striping was black and white, but today it is a muted gray and white, which softens the interior. Work began on its construction in 1916 by a very beloved Fr. Hawes (later Monsignor Hawes), who designed it (and actually helped build it) based on churches and mosques he had seen around the world. Very unfinished, it opened two years later. The new bishop refused to grant any money at all toward its ongoing construction, as he considered it “peculiar.” But today, there is a host of volunteers at the church, very eager to tell the story of the beloved Fr. Hawes and their beautiful, unusual church. We found it to be the city’s major attraction.

The beaches are gorgeous, like all we have seen on the Indian Ocean. Some of the sand dunes were being “repaired,” but we don’t know what that means exactly. Everyone we encountered seemed very proud of their city and all it has to offer. There is a photo of the bent-over trees, which are famous up and down the west coast due to the constant wind. Best of all for us, for the first time in over two months, we got to go to a movie theater and see a new movie – with popcorn! It was great. Geraldton had everything.

View from the beach in downtown Geraldton.
We are not sure what this process involves. We kept out, but others wandered onto the beach.
These five almost-equally spaced birds seemed to be protecting this woman and child.
St. Francis Xavier Cathedral. The outside is reminiscent of a California Mission, which was one inspiration for its design.
It is a complete surprise to walk inside and see this design and burst of color.
The organ, with some of its pipes, on the side. You can see the inscription around the bottom of the dome, “You are Peter. Upon this rock, I will build my church.”
The confessionals!
We liked how the windows, and arches, had the orange and white stripe motif.
Close-up of the angel on the column.
Wild colors/patterns, yet somehow it all fits together.
The Baptismal Font, with a beautiful inlaid mosaic.
Down in the “crypt,” although no one is buried there.
Monsignor Hawes, who conceived, designed, and helped build the cathedral. He looks rather serious, but the Santa cap indicates that he is really a Cool Dude!
In front of the city theater is this pretty array of water cascades.
The Iris Sundial, installed 2004. There is a complicated description of how to tell time with it, but it was easier to glance at our phone!
Apparently, this is common on Australia’s west coast – the wind blows so much that trees all over get bent in half!
GRAG – the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery – has this sentinel outside watching over it.
The city’s planters all were painted with different indigenous animals. The large animal on the right is an echidna.
Such a strange sign! It is for a hotel (and the banned groups are very specific), but then it says the ban is for “permitted trading hours.” Trading – for an apartment hotel?? We don’t get it!
A cute name for a cute shop.
This guy was floating on the side of a building.
The city had a lot of early 19th century buildings like this.
The main drag. Wondabake had fabulous delicacies! We partook of several.
The pub with personality? Not so much. Inside were plastic chairs – it was nothing special.
This memorial was a little farther out than we were able to venture. It is in honor of the 645 men who went down on the HMAS Sydney II, the biggest Royal Australian Navy warship loss in WWII. The Dome of Souls is the canopy.
We liked these mannequins with lipstick being their only facial feature.
Of course!
A pretty gold and red building on the main shopping street.
Even though it is out of business, it is interesting that they served “handy foods.” Does that mean food you hold in your hands? And it is always weird when stores sell human food as well as bait – not a good combo.

Almost-sunset to a great day.

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