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On the first of October 2014 the Geraldton Yacht Club will celebrate one hundred years of existence, quite an achievement but not the only effort to establish a sailing club.
Somewhere about 1887 at the Victoria Hotel about half a dozen men decided to start a club, each of them put in 25 pound to establish the Victorian Sailing Club. It is not known what happened but the next effort at about the turn of the century was the Geraldton Sailing Club, you will see some of the photos of past presidents of this Club on our Club wall. Then on the first of October 1914 the present Club was formed.
For years the Club roamed up and down the foreshore. There was an old Rowing Club shed on the foreshore which was used to house the boats. There were stables on the site of where the half basketball court and the John Forrest Memorial is today. These were used to shelter the yachts.
The Geraldton Yacht Club hall was built and dedicated in 1932.
During the second World War the Club yacht racing went into recession but the hall activities carried on. The Club ran weekly dances, eagerly attended by the Servicemen who were stationed here. All funds raised were given to the Camp Comforts Fund. At the end of the war the floor was so worn down by hobnailed boots that it had to be replaced.
After the second World War two nissen huts were purchased from the air force and transported from the airport to the West End and these became the first Club House.
With the extension of the harbour, the West End beach was desecrated and the huts became unusable. In 1964, the present Club House was built sharing a joint wall with the hall.
Since inception the hall has been the centre piece of entertainment in Geraldton, with weekly dances. Over the years there have been a lot of romances which began there, and in some ways, the Geraldton Yacht Club contributed to advancing the population of Geraldton. Today it is leased out and used as a fully catered function room.
In the last 25 years there have been several attempts to shift the Yacht Club which have been vigorously opposed. A few years ago we secured a 42 year lease on the land and have progressively improved the building and its amenities.
After many years of having the larger yachts penned initially in the Fishing Boat Harbour and then in a Marina where the port’s tugs are now, the Port Authority facilitated the construction of pens in 2006 for the Yacht Club along the outer wall in the Batavia Marina.
I welcome you to the Club and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I have, if that is what happens to you then you will indeed be a happy Club Member.
Immediate Past Commodore