Geraldton – Wind, Museum and War Memorial

Geraldton

Geraldton is the fourth biggest city in Western Australia and according to the lady in the caravan park, the third windiest city – not sure whether in Australia or on earth but we are quite prepared to believe it.

 

In the background is the Port and city of Geraldton  in the foreground the Chapman River flows through the reserve adjoining the caravan park.

The two highlights of our day in Geraldton were the visit to the museum where there was an amazing display on the shipwrecks along the disastrous coast  and our time with a volunteer guide at the Memorial to HMAS Sydney overlooking the harbour.

 

The mutual sinking of the Sydney and the German  auxiliary Cruiser Kormoran on the 19th November 1941 with the complete loss of the 645 crewman on the Sydney, while 318 of the 399 personnel from Kormoran survived to become prisoners of War in Australia. This was Australia’s greatest ever naval disaster.

 

The memorial is in four parts – the huge standing stele,  the size of the bow of the HMAS Sydney stands in front of  The “Dome of Souls” structure, comprising a stainless steel dome, made up of 645 silver gulfs, representing the sailors lost at sea, a polished bronze propeller altar in the centre of a granite ceremonial area and an “Eternal Flame” that hangs above the altar.

 

The memorial wall lists the names of all lost, alphabetically giving rank and state of origin. I know there were four civilians on board working in the ship canteen but I am intrigued by Percy Skewes, enlisted in the RAN from Queensland with the rank/position of School Master.

 

The most touching part of the memorial for us is the sculpture of the waiting woman, dressed in the style of the 1940’s and given an age where she could be either mother or wife watching and waiting for the return of the Sydney, lost nearly 3 km down and 150 km to the West of Geraldton, where it had berthed for recreational leave only four weeks previously.
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