Part 12 – [Geraldton : An Alternative History]

Before the Bankfield Highway (aka Arena Road) was constructed, the mail carrier between Geraldton & Bankfield mine was “N—-r” Johnson, so named because he was a Black man. Photo dated ca 1934, Greenstone History Collection.


There were many working dog teams in the early days of
Geraldton. Some could be rented, such as Avis now rents cars.
A [fully equipped] dog team [one could rent] for 50 cents a day,
or one could have the [month’s] groceries delivered from town to
Bell Island for 25 cents [(in Second Bridge area)].Dog teams
delivered bread, milk, groceries, mail, fuel wood. Sometimes
the dogs [raced] the stork to the hospital; fortunately[,] the dogs
usually won the race to the delivery room. When the train still
stopped at Hardrock Station[,] the dog teams transported the freight
from Hardrock to the mines during the winter months.

There was an annual Dog Derby during the winter when the
sporting types would bet money on their favourite canine team.
The races began and ended at Town Square (Geraldton Hotel). Children
were encouraged to enter their single dog for a juvenile race.
Bo Daneff bragged for years about having the best dog in the derby.

Sunday mornings the whole community were treated to the Canine
Chorus. It seemed that the dogs were partial to the ringing of
church bells. St. Theresa’s Church had 3 morning masses and the
other churches had both morning and evening service[. This]meant
for considerable bell ringing. The dogs would break into the
chorus at the first service and no sooner would they begin to
settle down than the next church service was about to begin and
away went the chorus again with even greater crescendo (sic).
There were sometimes midnight special choruses when the folks
dancing at Dreamland Dance Hall would be wending [their] way home
from the dance [and] they sometimes stopped at the Presbyterian Church
and rang the bell .The dogs would start howling in the dead
of night[,] disturbing the town, especially the young student
minister living in the church. It seemed the dogs were spooked
with the bell ringing after dark and took ever so long to
settle down again.

The town folks took the Canine Chorus as part of the Sunday
Morning Ritual and did not complain. The dogs had a right to
howl on Sunday morning, since most of the humans howled on
Saturday night at the local hotels.

A sidebar . . .
A sidebar . . .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: