Part 11 – [Geraldton : An Alternative History]

Dreamland Dance Hall in 1937, located in second block, east side, Main Street. Formerly E.B. Correll’s General Store (relocated next door); Correll’s also had a Ford dealership. Dance hall also houses Capital Barber Shop, and sign in window advertises “St. Patrick’s Day Dance Tonite”. All photos from Greenstone History Collection.


There were many recreational activities in the area during
the early years. Each mine had a recreation committee and there
were great rivalries among the [various] mines during the hockey
and baseball seasons. The first hockey games were played on open
[air] rinks. People from town would walk along the tracks to Kenwell
siding 5 or 6 miles west of Geraldton . There they were met by
a team of horses and a sleigh, which took them for an enjoyable
ride to Bankfield Mine. After the game the group gathered in the
cookery for coffee and cake [before] the sleigh ride back to the
tracks and the long walk home. Some hardy souls even skied or
[snowshoed] all the way.

The baseball teams games in summer were a joy to behold. The
players and spectators spent a lot of time swatting files;
some fans even consumed a beer or two while cheering their
favourite players on to greater achievement.

Geraldton Fast Ball Team in 1937. Attached annotation identifies the players, sponsored by Chapples Dept. Store, and notes they are winners of the Times Journal Trophy.

One of the [ladies’] baseball teams had little talent ,but,
a lot of originality. After [losing] games all summer[,] they
devised a little[ gimmick] to distract the [referee] and get some
points on the board. The pitcher had a [tattoo] on her thigh[. Now,]
back in the olden days and with the heavy fly population[,] ‘it
was daring and a sacrifice to wear shorts. However[, Mary, the
dear girl,] decided it was necessary. She could also, by flexing
the [muscles] in her leg[,] make the [tattoo] do all sorts of things
such [as wink and tip the hat]. Mary did manage to [distract] the
umpire long enough to have a few balls called as strikes and put
the low team on the score board[,] so they managed one[win] at
the end of the baseball season[,The Geraldton Way].

The town had 4 pool halls and 2 bowling alleys where the
[various] teams were busy every afternoon and evening. The pool
rooms were a very special male domain[;] no woman was allowed to
cross the imaginary line between the bowling area and the pool
room. Some older men [had] given up [playing] pool because[, as they
saw things,] even the pool hall [was] not sacred anymore.

Chapples Ladies’ Bowling Team, undated.

Both bowling alleys had winter leagues, both [men’s] and women’s
leagues ,but no mixed bowling. At the close of the bowling season[,]
the sponsors and teams had a gala affair of banquet and dance in
the [Mariaggi] Hotel[. This was, however,]a mixed event[, especially]
for the dancing.

Geraldton Gold Miners hockey team ca 1938.

2 thoughts on “Part 11 – [Geraldton : An Alternative History]

  1. Thanks for this info as it was really hard times for all then , but nice to know they kept going by enjoying dancing & sports even walking 4/5 miles to activities ! Super!


  2. Wow, it’s amazing how much history can be captured in a single photo! It’s interesting to see how the building transformed from a general store to a dance hall and barber shop. I wonder what other kinds of recreational activities were popular in the area during that time? Anyone have any insights?


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