Geraldton Port - History and Handy Facts

Port of Geraldton Historic Photo Gallery

Geraldton Port has changed over the years. View our historic photo gallery comparing years past to today!

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Beginning - 1840

Geraldton Port has been servicing the Mid West as the major seaport of the region since 1840 when the first ship, the HMS Champion, first anchored off its coast.

In 1849, the first shipment of lead ore was exported from Champion Bay. Twenty five years later, construction began on the first government railway in the state - a 55 kilometre line to carry lead ore from Northampton to the Port.

The first jetty - 1857

Construction of Port facilities began in 1857 with the first town jetty extending 244 metres due north from Gregory Street. Dramatic growth has followed consistently ever since. In 1893 a new 290 metre jetty was completed northwards from Durlacher Street and work on the present port began in 1924.

A 670 metre breakwater was completed in 1926, being connected to land in the mid 1930s.

First reinforced concrete berth in WA - 1931

Wharf construction began in 1928 and the first reinforced concrete berth in the state was officially opened in Geraldton in 1931.

Development of Berths 3 and 4 - 1960s

Dramatic development during the 1960s and 1970s brought on line new berthing facilities in Berth 3 and a Fishing Boat Harbour was added in 1963.

Construction of Berth 4 commenced in May 1964 and the first shipment of iron ore from Western Australia was loaded from Berth 4 in March 1966.

Development of Berth 5 - 1975

In 1975 Berth 5, a 213 metre berth designed to accommodate vessels of up to 27,000 tonnes displacement was added.

The Port was administered by the Western Australian Government Railways from 1949 until 1957 and the Department of Marine and Harbours from 1957 until 1969 when control passed to the Geraldton Port Authority.

In 1974, the Geraldton Port dispatched its first shipment of mineral sands and in 1975 its final shipment of iron ore.

Talc was first exported from Geraldton in 1980 and in 1982 the Port showed its versatility when the accommodation modules for the North Rankin “A” gas field were constructed on land reclaimed during work on Berth 5.

Development of Berth 6 - 1997

Increased regional trade and shipping demands led to the development of Berth 6 and by 1997 Berth 3 was due for refurbishment to cater for an expansion of grain handling and shiploading facilities erected by Co-operative Bulk Handling Ltd.

Refurbishments to Berths 1 and 2 in 1999 increased shipping access and visiting vessels’ facilities and services.

Port Enhancement Project - 2003

In 2003 a $103 million Port Enhancement Project was undertaken to deepen the harbour basin and channel, as well as to upgrade three of the six berths. As a result, ships to Handymax size can now be fully loaded at Geraldton and Panamax size ships can be part loaded to around 62,000 tonnes.

The upgrade also heralded the return of the iron ore export trade out of Geraldton. The first company to export iron ore was Mount Gibson Iron Ltd in February 2004 with approximately 38,000 tonnes of ore was exported to Nanjing, China.

In July 2004, the Mid West Ports Authority completed a $2 million security upgrade to comply with the Australian Government's new Maritime Transport Security Act 2003 and meet international obligations. The upgrade secured the interface between all berths and Port waters through fencing and security gates with card access.

New tug boats - 2005

Two new tugs were commissioned at the start of 2005 to cater for the increased size of vessels from the Port. Each have a 50 bollard pull capacity, easily catering for the heaviest loaded Panamax vessels.

In 2012 a third tug was commissioned to assist with the increased vessel movements as a result of general growth and due to the commencement of Karara Mining Ltd iron ore exports.

The third tug has a 60 tonne bollard pull capacity.

In 2012 Karara Mining Ltd commenced exports over berth 7, an adjacent iron ore storage shed, conveyors, galleries, a shiploader, a rail siding and a train unloading facility are among the infrastructure investments made by Karara at the Geraldton Port.

Significant investments in other infrastructure were made by Karara in the Mid West to facilitate the export of iron ore from their mines in the Mid West.

Renaming to Mid West Ports Authority - 2014

In 2014 Geraldton Port Authority was renamed to Mid West Ports Authority following amendments to the Port Authority Act 1999 which were recommended under the State Government's WA Ports Governance Review which concluded in 2012.

The change of name to the Mid West Ports Authority reflects the ultimate amalgamation of Geraldton Port with the proposed port of Oakajee and the non-port authority port facilities at Useless Loop and Cape Cuvier.

Historical Shipping Registers

View Geraldton Port Historical Shipping Registers