Geraldton's big dig


In 2015, major multi-million dollar conservation work is expected to commence on Geraldton’s most iconic building, St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral.

It is also planned to build a Monsignor Hawes Heritage Centre, Café and Plaza in the grounds in front of the Cathedral.

This area contains an early 20th century Geraldton rubbish dump which as part of the conservation and development work is to be archaeologically excavated under the supervision of Fr Robert Cross (Catholic priest & Archaeologist) from 24 – 28 November, from 8am to 5pm daily.

It is anticipated that artefacts recovered from the dig will provide valuable historical information about early Geraldton and the early phases of the Cathedral’s construction.

A feature of this archaeological dig is that it will be a Public Archaeology Event, that is, the public will be welcome to come to the dig and help with the sieving, collection, cleaning and sorting of artefacts.

Ocean & Earth Training Specialists is one of the major contributors to this project, supplying various machinery and labour to the value of approximately $40,000.

Other contributors to this archaeological project in kind or financially are: Security Co, Cross Archaeology and Ecclesiastical Heritage, Monsignor Hawes Heritage Inc, St Vincent de Paul, Nagle College and several individuals.

An application has also been submitted for the latest round of the City of Greater Geraldton’s Community Grants Programme.

Fr Robert Cross deeply appreciates the commitment of all the above to this project but is still looking for contributions (money or in-kind) to help meet the costs of the dig, estimated to be in excess of $60,000.

All contributions will be acknowledged on the website and in any publicity material.

Please visit the website that has been set up to publicise and inform about this unique Geraldton event:

If you would like to can help with any of these or would like to make a donation of money, please contact Fr Cross on 99213221 or email him at

(Note: Fr Robert Cross will be out of his office from 10 -14 November but messages, donations or offers of assistance can be left with Genny at the Diocesan Office Ph: 99213221).