What's the history of Weelaway on Gregory?
Jackie and her partner Brian purchased the property in late 2009 after having loved the property for many years “from afar”. When they saw that it was going to auction, they thought the time had come to see if they could become the proud owners of a part of Geraldton’s earliest history.
Where does the name Weelaway come from?
The homestead was originally known as “Heathcote House”. Jackie and Brian didn’t know this when they bought the property, so called it “Weelaway” after the fam Jackie was raised on in Morawa (150km south east of Geraldton).
Weelaway on Gregory is actually two residences which, over the years, have been joined. The land was first listed for sale by public auction in the Perth Gazette in 1868 for a price of six pounds. William Moore who had come to live in Geraldton in 1865 purchase it and built a small wood and tin cottage and then the large stone house. When he died in 1922, the property was put on the market. A advertisement from the Geraldton Guardian describes the house thus:
“On Town Lot 355 is erected a well built six-roomed stone house with wide verandah front and side together with closed in back verandah,
pantry, bath room, wash house, copper built in and gas laid on all through house. Large underground tank full rain water; well laid out flower garden, this would make an ideal residence for country people seeking a town house”
The house was indeed sold to “country people seeking a townhouse”. A Geraldton pioneer Mr George Sewell purchased it . At the time he was Geraldton’s Mayor. Mr Sewell went on to be the local member of Parliament for Geraldton, and after his death his widow staying living at 104 Gregory Street.
Weelaway: history and stories
This is Gregory Street - Geraldton's first main street. The two storey building above is the Geraldton Hotel - about 500 metres down the street from Weelaway on Gregory.
Gregory Street was one of the first streets in the town, running from the historic Geraldton Hotel and past some of the oldest homes in the district.
Weelaway on Gregory comprises two buildings: an old stone homestead fronting Gregory Street and a wooden building that fronted a road that once ran between Gregory and Francis Streets. The two bedroom cottage probably pre-dates Weelaway House. When Jackie and Brian began their extensive renovations they found that what they thought was a 1970s building was actually build over the top of a wooden structure. Further exploration indicates that the bones of the Cottage are probably from the 1860s—from before local stone was used as a building material. The materials for the six inch jarrah walls and tin roof would have been brought from Perth by horse and dray.