Geraldton’s first pub, the Geraldton Hotel, was built in 1858 on Gregory St. where it still stands today. The earliest recorded licence at the Revenues Office can be found in the 1860 Government Gazette. Edward Ridley, a farmer from Greenough, was the hotel’s first proprietor and remained so until 1868 when Martin Hosken became the new landlord. Following Martin Hosken, was his brother William Hosken until his passing in October 1881 when William’s wife, Hannah Amy, became the new licensee of the hotel. It was unusual in those times for a woman to be a hotel proprietor. In 1932 Dora Fielding became the second female licensee and managed the hotel for over ten years.
The Hotel was an important building during the early history of Geraldton. Meetings of The Geraldton Town Council were held there until the (old) Council Chambers were built on Gregory St in 1871. There is some evidence to suggest the downstairs cellar was used as a temporary gaol containing a tunnel that led out to the port. Due to the shortage of medical facilities in Geraldton, it was not uncommon for women to stay in the accommodation to give birth. In 1874, it was the venue for an extravagant meal prepared for the explorers John and Alexander Forrest on the eve of their second journey across Australia. A plaque commemorating this historic event can be found on the present building.
The Geraldton Hotel stands as a fine example of the colourful history of early Western Australian life. The present day incarnation, includes a large beer garden, renovated Dining Room as well as 13 refurbished and well appointed rooms. The public bar remains including a pub TAB. The former billiards room has been converted into a Liquor Barons Store.