Historic plaques unloved

Geraldton Guardian - - Opin­ion - Grant Wood­hams

The Sun­day morn­ing mar­kets in Ger­ald­ton at the Old Rail­way Sta­tion are in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar.

In com­pany with my wife we usu­ally do a hit and run mis­sion, nearly al­ways buy­ing bread and some­times a bot­tle of olive oil or honey.

I won’t say it is a Sun­day morn­ing rit­ual, but we walk to the mar­kets on a fairly reg­u­lar ba­sis.

Re­cently I had rea­son to walk past the mar­kets on the plat­form side and con­tinue north.

Away from the rail­way sta­tion, head­ing over to­wards the ma­rina is a large stone em­bed­ded in the ground with a cou­ple of plaques at­tached. The plaques look unloved.

I’ve seen the stone or rock and its plaques be­fore, and I’ve per­versely won­dered if they dis­ap­peared would any­one no­tice?

Some of you might know that the stone com­mem­o­rates the place where the Pre­sen­ta­tion Sis­ters, a Catholic teach­ing or­der, be­gan their work in Ger­ald­ton in 1891.

It is the orig­i­nal site of the Star of the Sea Pre­sen­ta­tion Con­vent, which was re­named Stella Maris Col­lege in 1911 which was then es­tab­lished in build­ings on the grounds which are now known as Na­gle Catholic Col­lege.

Stella Maris, a girls’ school even­tu­ally amal­ga­mated with the boys’ school St Pa­trick’s Col­lege the two of them be­com­ing Na­gle in 1994.

It is an­other part of our great but of­ten ne­glected Ger­ald­ton his­tory, but yet the memo­rial stone and its at­ten­dant plaques lan­guish sur­rounded by a sea of weeds, far off any his­tor­i­cal walk­ing trails.

If you oc­ca­sion­ally make the jour­ney to the Sun­day mar­kets, I’d rec­om­mend you take a de­tour to look at the memo­rial and its plaques. It might not look im­pres­sive, but it marks a great story of ed­u­ca­tion in Ger­ald­ton that con­tin­ues to­day.

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