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Photographs supplied by Peter F Williams

The monument commemorates (Lord) John Forrest who departed from Geraldton in 1874 on his journey of exploration to Central Australia. The memorial was unveiled in 1947, the centenary year of his birth.  

John Forrest (1847 - 1918) rose to become Australia`s first native-born peer when he was made Baron Forrest in 1918. He began his career in the Surveyor-General`s Office in 1863 when he was apprenticed to the assistant surveyor in Bunbury, and it was as an explorer and surveyor that he achieved fame in Western Australia, the eastern colonies of Australia, and in London. In 1869 he was offered the leadership of a party to search for the lost Ludwig Leichardt expedition party through an unexplored region near modern-day Laverton. He was also the first Premier of Western Australia. 

His next expedition in 1870 was the first west to east crossing of Western Australia by land, following and surveying the route taken by John Eyre when he walked across the Nullarbor in 1840. In 1874 Forrest led another expedition from Geraldton, travelling west to east through the arid western centre to the north-south telegraph line in South Australia. The next year he travelled to London where he gave several public lectures and received popular acclaim as a colonial explorer.

A hitch in a proposal to erect a memorial at Geraldton to commemorate the beginning of John Forrest's epic exploration trip to South Australia in 1874, was reported to the Western Australian Historical Society by the chairman of the memorials committee (Mr. F. L Bray) recently. He reported that the Government was not prepared to make any portion of the foreshore available for town improvement purposes, which included the proposal to erect the memorial. The Geraldton Municipal Council had expressed interest in the project provided it could secure an area of the foreshore for this and other town purposes. 

The Town Planning Commissioner (Mr. D. L. Davidson) recently suggested to the Geraldton Council that a block of land owned by the council, opposite the Geraldton Hotel, should be laid out with grass and shrubs. It was hoped, however, that the Government would make portion of the adjoining block available for the purpose of a park. Forrest's famous journey started from the Geraldton Hotel and it was suggested that a memorial should be erected on the other side of the street, but the area of land owned there by the Geraldton Council was found to be too small for the memorial and other purposes suggested.
The West Australian (Perth), 17th June 1939.

Local arrangements for the commemoration of the Lord Forrest centenary on August 22 include a school children's pageant in Gregory-street on the site from which Lord Forrest's memorable overland expedition of 1874 left Geraldton. Arrangements were further advanced at a representative meeting presided over by the Mayor (Dr. J. McAleer) in the Municipal Chambers. Traders are being asked to close their establishments from 10.30 a.m. to noon on August 22 to allow employees to attend. The children of the State primary school will provide the pageant in Gregory-street. Those participating will be mounted and dressed to represent the different members of the expedition who accompanied Lord Forrest. After proceeding through the town the procession will halt at a park, at present under construction on land recently resumed by the municipal council, which will be named Forrest-square. A temporary memorial will be unveiled and an address on the life and accomplishments of Lord Forrest will be delivered by Dr. McAleer. An invitation has been extended to any district relatives of Lord Forrest and to any person who saw him de part on the overland journey to participate in the official ceremony. 
West Australian (Perth,WA), 4 August 1947.



Address:Marine Terrace & Fitzgerald Street East, Geraldton, 6530
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -28.775137
Long: 114.606391
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event Start Date:22-August-1847
Actual Event End Date:22-August- 1947


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Friday 22nd August, 1947
Front Inscription

This Tablet Commemorates The Departure
From Geraldton On 1 April 1874 On His
    Journey Of Exploration To 
         Central Australia
Erected By The Citizens Of Geraldton On
The Occasion Of His Centenary
          22 Aug 1947

Source: MA,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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