Part 10 – [Geraldton : An Alternative History]

Geraldton’s first garbage disposal service in 1937. Photo by Harry Fisher reproduced in And the Geraldton Way.


There were no real regulations regarding health and sanitation
in the early days. Some of the health officials became aware that
there could be a possibility of a major epidemic unless some
sort of regulations were set and [maintained].

Once the water was available[,] people installed septic [tanks]
to dispose of waste water; some even installed full plumbing
with [3-piece] bathrooms. Those people still using the outdoor
privies were expected to follow certain common [sense] rules.

Some people had just dug opened pits for the privies[. This]
caused the muskeg ground in the [vicinity] of the privy to become
saturated with waste. It was also a major [hazard] if the owner
of the privy decided to move the privy to [a] new location and
didn’t have time to fill in the pit [before] dark. On at least
one occasion[,] a person fell into the waste pit in the dark of
night and came out not smelling like a rose. The new rule for
privies was that the pit must be filled in and replaced with
[fly-proof] galvanized pails with side handles to make the
[removal] and dumping easier. The Honey Wagon was to be
[leak-proof and fly-proof]so that the [content]s would not be strewn
along the street. Every [boarding] house, restaurant, and rooming
house had to install 2 privies, one each for women and men.

Charges for collection of night soil by the Honey Wagon were
$2.00 per [month;] for garbage, $1.00 per month. If the total
bill of $3.00 was not paid to the [Dominion] Bank by the 20th of
the month[,] service was suspended.

Persons who did not comply with the Health Regulations
under the Sanitary By-Law left themselves open to [prosecution].

A sidebar . . .

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