Historic and elegant city on Corio Bay
Located on the shores of Corio Bay, Geelong is Victoria's largest provincial city. It had a population of 200,474 in 2020. This is forecast to grow to 393,216 by 2041. As early as 1993 the City of Greater Geelong started to include Geelong Central, Geelong West, Newtown, South Barwon and Bellarine. Historically Geelong has had a number of separate and distinctive identities. It has been an upmarket retreat (holidays and summer breaks) for the wealthy graziers from Victoria's western district which led, in part, to Prince Charles spending some of his school years at Geelong Grammar. On another level it has been an important port servicing the agricultural and pastoral districts to the west and north-west of the city - a relationship which is symbolised by the huge bay-side grain silos. On a third level it is a remarkably gracious city with elegant public architecture, floral gardens and parklands, a sublime foreshore along Corio Bay and the beauty of Eastern Park and the Botanical Gardens on the headland overlooking the bay. It is a city so rich in attractions it would be easy to spend a week exploring and enjoying its unique charms.
Geelong is located 74 km south-west of Melbourne's CBD via the M1.^ TOP
Origin of Name
In 1824 Hamilton Hume and William Hovell travelled overland to the western shore of Port Phillip Bay which the Wathaurong First Nation people called "Jillong" probably meaning "land" or "cliffs"^ TOP
Things to See and Do
Exploring Geelong – Walking Tours
There are four possible walking tours of central Geelong. They are each covered, with excellent maps, in the Central Geelong Arts & Culture Walking Trails. It can be accessed at the Visitor Information Centre or downloaded at https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/common/public/Event/attachments/8cd26251d74bf06-Central%20Geelong%20Arts%20and%20Cultural%20Walking%20Trail.pdf.
Three of the trails (apart from the Bollard Trail) are circular:
Trail 1 – which is described below with some enhanced detail – covers 48 sites which are divided up between “Public Art”. “Performing Arts”, “Heritage”, “Cultural Resources” and “Galleries”. It is estimated to take over three hours and there is a recommendation that it would best be undertaken over a two day period because some of the attractions (ie the National Wool Museum) are worthy of a few hours by themselves.
Trail 2 – is a shorter version of Trail 1. It covers 34 sites and will take around 2 hours.
Trail 3 – is even shorter covering only 25 sites and taking around 75 minutes.
Trail 4 – the Bollard Trail – a two hour walk along the foreshore to see 48 bollards telling the history of Geelong.
Located at 2 Fenwick Street and housed in the T E Bostock Memorial building (1928) at the gateway to the Geelong Cultural Precinct, the Gordon Gallery offers a range of exhibitions each year featuring local artists, student works and touring exhibitions. Check https://www.thegordon.edu.au/quick-links/gallery/upcoming-exhibitions for upcoming exhibitions. Tel: (03) 5225 0442 or 1300 769 279. It is usually open from 10.00 am – 4.00 pm.
2. Kurrajong Seed Pod
Located in Johnstone Park near Little Malop and Fenwick Streets, the Kurrajong Seed Pod was created by Victor Cebergs in 2000. The sculpture is based on the seedpod of the Kurrajong tree, which can be seen lining the path near the sculpture. The sculpture has a timber stem, a metal pod and yellow seeds. It was commissioned by the City of Greater Geelong in 2000. Cebergs, who has lived and worked in Geelong, is known for creating works that interact with their natural environment. He was them to inhabit the space rather than dictating to it.
3. Geelong Regional Library and Heritage Centre
Located at 51 Little Malop Street, the Geelong Library is a building to be gazed at in total wonder. It is open Monday to Friday from 9.00 am – 8.00 pm and Saturday and Sunday 10.00 am – 5.00 pm. The building – the Dome – was inspired by “the domed shape of reading rooms in great libraries around the world”. It has five levels. For more information tel: (03) 4201 0600 or check https://www.grlc.vic.gov.au/locate/geelong-library-heritage-centre-dome. There is a commemorative brochure about this remarkable building which can be downloaded at https://www.grlc.vic.gov.au/glhc/about-dome. It points out that “The sphere and the dome both have strong architectural lineage in civic buildings: the great domed cathedrals of the sixteenth century Italian Renaissance epitomise the rise of humanist thought; the French visionary spherical monuments of the late eighteenth century embody the revolution of the Enlightenment; the progression towards equality, education and democratic government are displayed in the domes of the British Museum (1854) and the State Library of Victoria (1913) reading rooms. … it stands in this civic urban tradition and also projects to the futurist spheres of Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes.”
4. Geelong Heritage Centre
The Geelong Heritage Centre is part of the Geelong Regional Library. It can be found on Level 3 of the Dome and is known to be Victoria’s largest regional archive and historical resource centre with an extensive collection of newspapers, reference works, maps and plans, genealogical and church records, photographs and archival materials. The website explains: “The Heritage Centre's archive collection is a unique recorded history of Geelong and the Bellarine, the Golden Plains, the Surf Coast, the Borough of Queenscliffe and beyond.” Tel: (03) 4201 0630 or check https://www.grlc.vic.gov.au/glhc/heritage-centre for greater details. It is open Tuesday 9.00 am – 8.00 pm, Wednesday to Friday 9.00 am – 5.00 pm and Saturday 10.00 am – 1.00 pm.
5. Geelong Gallery
Located at 55 Little Malop Street, the Geelong Gallery was established in 1896 and in the intervening years has accumulated over 6,000 Australian and international works. The website highlights: “The Gallery is home to a number of iconic Australian paintings including Eugène von Guérard’s Aborigines met on the road to the diggings (1854), The Weatherboard Falls (1863) and View of Geelong (1856), Louis Buvelot’s On the Woods Point Road (1872), Frederick McCubbin’s A bush burial (1890) and Russell Drysdale’s Hill End (1948) … The greatest strengths of the Gallery’s permanent collection are colonial paintings, including a splendid array of early images of Geelong and its wider region … and modern and contemporary Australian paintings, sculpture and decorative arts including works by Fred Williams, Ann Thomson, Peter Booth, Juan Davila, Rosalie Gascoigne, Jan Senbergs and John Brack.” It also has annual changing exhibitions. Entry is free and the gallery is open daily from 10.00 am – 5.00 pm. Tel: (03) 5229 3645 or check out https://www.geelonggallery.org.au.
6. Courthouse Arts
Located in the former Geelong Law Courts and Police Station (1938) on the corner of Gheringhap and Little Malop Streets, Courthouse Arts, as described by Platform Arts, is a “Contemporary youth arts space in Geelong, on Wadawurrung Country. Mobilising and emboldening the next generation to take creative risks, explode boundaries, develop critical works and be a powerful voice in global contemporary ideas and actions.' For more information tel: (03) 5224 2815 or check out https://platformarts.org.au.
7. Geelong Performing Arts Centre
Located at 50 Little Malop Street, and opened in 1981, the Geelong Performing Arts Centre comprises two theatres, four conference and event spaces, plus a restaurant and cafeì. It is the city’s premier venue for musicals, plays, ballet and dance, fringe cabaret, comedy, festivals, community events, classical music and workshops. The Centre was designed and built around two older buildings, the Plaza Theatre (1855) and the Presbyterian Church (1857). The bluestone facade of the church is preserved inside the complex. Tel: 03 5225 1200. It is open Monday to Friday: 9.00 am-5.00 pm and Saturday 9.00 am-1.00 pm.
8. Old Geelong Post Office and Telegraph Station
Located at the corner of Gheringhap and Ryrie Streets, this huge and impressive public building (one of the largest regional post offices in Victoria) was designed by JH Marsden, and assisted by JH Brabin of the Public Works Department, was built in 1889-90 by David Kinnaird. The two storey rendered brick building with an ornamental tower is prominently sited at the intersection of Ryrie and Gheringhap Streets. The clock and bell chimes were installed in the tower in 1911.” according to the Victorian Heritage Database. Check https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/4699 for greater details. The first automatic telephone exchange in Australia (and in the southern hemisphere) was established in the building in 1912. The time ball on top of the Telegraph Station next door was used from 1862 to relay the time to citizens and shipmasters, by the releasing of a ball at 1pm daily (except Sundays).
9. Metropolis Gallery
Located at 4 James Street, Karingallery is a working studio and gallery staffed by professionally trained artists, to support adults with an intellectual disability. Tel. 03 5221 1789.
11. Brougham Art School & Gallery & School of Photography
Located Level 1, 73 Malop Street, the Brougham Gallery is an art school which regularly hosts quality contemporary art exhibitions. Tel: (03) 5229 9984.
12. Birthplace of Willem Baa Niip
Located between Moorabool and Yarra Streets in Little Mallop Street is the location believed to be the birthplace of Willem Baa Niip (known variously as William Gore, Billy Wa-wha and King Billy) who was a member of the Wathaurong First Nation people. Willem Baa Niip was born in 1836. He died from tuberculosis in 1885 and is said to be the last Wathaurong who witnessed the arrival of Europeans in the district. A bronze paving depicts the Geelong Treaty, signed by John Batman and by members of the First Nation people in the Melbourne area. The Treaty offered goods for land in the Geelong area. Of particular interest is a huge mural of Willem Baa Niip which was painted by Cam Scale in 2014. It can be viewed at 81 Dennys Place which runs off Little Mallop Street.
13. Union Street Mural
Not only Union Street but a number of streets around the Geelong CBD (Wright Place, Gheringhap Street, the Civic Centre Car Park, James Street) has a range of impressive murals on various themes which have been developed by the City of Greater Geelong, local arts organisations and private firms. There is a useful, comprehensive list at https://www.centralgeelong.com.au/news/central-geelong-wall-art-trail. It can be downloaded.
14. Former Congregational Chapel
Located at 51 McKillop Street, “The former Congregational Chapel was erected in 1853-54 for the McKillop Street Independent Congregation to designs by pioneer Geelong architect Benjamin Backhouse. This stucco masonry structure was designed as preaching hall with a classically derived facade of most unusual proportions and detail and surmounted by a restrained central pediment and parapet entablature.” As the Victorian Heritage Database explains. It was converted into a café and restaurant named Wintergarden which closed in 2019.
16. Christ Church of England and Vicarage
Located at the north-east corner of McKillop & Moorabool Streets, the Christ Church of England was the first church built for the Anglican Church in Geelong. It was opened in 1847 with the foundation stone being laid in 1843. The Victorian Heritage Database (see https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/534 for more detail) notes that the significance of the church is “It appears to be the only extant example of Bishop William Broughton's involvement in church design in Victoria … and it is … of architectural significance as the only church in Victoria designed by prolific NSW architect, Edmund Blacket. [He designed the quadrangle at Sydney University.] It is a very early work of Blacket's and possibly his first church design … it goes on the note: “Christ Church contains a range of high quality stained glass windows completed over a period of 128 years from 1872 to 2000. Three windows by prolific Melbourne firm, Ferguson and Urie, were installed in 1879, and are fine examples of the work of this firm. These were followed by a further eight installations by both London and Melbourne glass designers in the late 19th and 20th centuries, including a window by Christian Waller, wife of artist Napier Waller, c1940. She also executed a large mural on the west wall of the church in 1942, one of only two recorded Christian Waller mural designs, the other commissioned in 1937 for the Fawkner Crematorium. She became a leading book illustrator, and print and stained glass window designer, producing some of her finest work in the 1930s. After completing a number of murals in New York in 1939, Waller returned to Australia and executed the mural at Christ Church, Geelong.”
The Vicarage’s Bungalow form features pointed window arches and ‘cloister’ and textured, coloured and patterned brick in the gable ends.
17. Former Jewish Synagogue
Located on the south-east corner of Yarra and McKillop Streets, the Former Jewish Synagogue was designed by John Young in 1861. The Victorian Heritage Database notes: “The building is an unusually elaborate early synagogue and as one of only two known synagogues remaining in regional Victoria, it is a rare example of a building type. It is also an extraordinary example of an architectural design in the Italianate style and is an important example of the eclectic and diverse work of architect John Young. It displays decorative treatment unusual in buildings of this time, especially the detailing of the side bays, the corner piers and the broken pediment with its heavy brackets above the semi-circular gable light, the distinctive detailing of the stucco porch and the unusual form and glazing pattern of the arched side windows.” See http://vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au/places/show_significance/3015 for more information.
18. Former St Andrew's Presbyterian Church (St John's Lutheran Church)
Located at 165 Yarra Street, the Victorian Heritage Database notes that: “St John's Lutheran Church was designed by architect and surveyor Alexander Skene (he later became Victoria's Surveyor-General from 1869-1886) and erected in 1841-2 as St Andrews Presbyterian. In its original form the building was simple, Georgian in style and rectangular in plan, with a small entry porch at the Yarra Street end. Polished freestone sills were used at the doors and windows but the walls were constructed of locally manufactured bricks. Other materials, including some of the roofing shingles and plaster for the ceiling, were imported from Hobart. The original structure survives behind a two storey, rendered, classical style front which was added in 1912-13 to the design of notable Geelong architects Laird and Buchan.” Originally a Presbyterian Church – the oldest in Victoria – it became St John’s Lutheran Church when the Lutherans purchased the property in 1946. See http://vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au/places/result_detail/543?print=true for more details.
19. St Mary of the Angels Basilica
Located at 136-148 Yarra Street, St Mary of the Angels Basilica, was one of the first provincial churches in Victoria. It is a remarkable church and the Victorian Heritage Database notes that it is: “an exceptionally large bluestone parish church dramatically sited on one of Geelong's most prominent hills, was commenced in 1854 to the design of architects Dowden and Ross. The bulk of the nave was completed in 1872 to the design of TA Kelly while the rest of the church, including the central tower and bluestone spire, was designed by CC Kelly and built 1931-37.” It adds that it has “exquisitely traceried window, its stained glass by Ferguson & Urie and Mathieson & Gibson and stone carvings in bluestone by Clement Nash, demonstrates typical craftsmanship. The church is noteworthy for its use of Lethbridge bluestone with contrasting finishes and details in Barrabool sandstone. The bluestone spire of the central tower, an unusual feature, is of particular importance. The grand and lofty church, with its spacious interior containing apsidal chevet chapels, ambulatory and imposing chancel, demonstrates the importance placed in the church as a symbol of the faith and identity of the Catholic community in Geelong.” See https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/1932 for more information.
20. Geelong Gaol Museum
Located at the corner of Myers and Swanston St is the former Geelong Gaol. It was designed after Pentonville prison in England and built of local basalt, in stages, from 1849 to 1864 to replace a log-walled prison in South Geelong where prisoners lived in appalling conditions. The construction was carried out by convicts who slept in hulks on Corio Bay. It remained a high-security prison until 1991.
The interior is harsh and bleak and the solitary confinement cells remain as they were in 1991. The three-storey central block is cruciform with the east and west wings serving as cells (some featuring interesting graffiti), north wing was the administration block and the south wing had the kitchen/hospital/ablution rooms and tailoring workshop. A tour takes in all elements of the complex including security points, prisoners' murals, muster and exercise areas, watchtowers, and a gallows setting depicting the 1863 hanging of James Murphy for beating a constable to death with a hammer in the Geelong courthouse. It is common to inspect the prison at your leisure but also there are Limelight Tours who have been trading as Twisted History since 2016 running ghost tours and paranormal investigations at the Geelong Gaol. The gaol is open from 1.00 pm to 4.00 pm on Saturday and Sunday and has more extended hours on public and school holidays, tel: 1300 865 800..
21. Art Unlimited
Art Unlimited is a professional access studio for artists with intellectual disabilities or special support needs. It is located at the Geelong Gaol.
22. Death Place of Willem Baa Niip
Willem Baa Niip (known variously as William Gore, Billy Wa-wha and King Billy) who was a member of the Wathaurong First Nation people. Willem Baa Niip was born in 1836. He died from tuberculosis in 1885 died in Geelong Hospital in 1885 at the age of 49. He was buried at the Western Cemetery where the headstone, provided by former Mayor of Geelong, Robert de Bruce Johnstone, can still be seen. The hospital is located on the corner of Ryrie and Bellerine Streets.
23. Walbaringa Flats Building
Located at 16-18 Eastern Beach Road, and built in 1928, the former Walbaringa Flats building is an intact and unusual example of the interwar Spanish Mission style with visual connections to the highly significant interwar Beaux-Arts and Californian styled Eastern Beach Reserve and Baths.They feature rectangular plan form, parapets to the main facades, Cordova tiles and central Spanish Mission style pediment with rendered decorative motif. They are listed on the Victorian Heritage Database – see https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/common/public/Event/attachments/8cd26251d74bf06-Central%20Geelong%20Arts%20and%20Cultural%20Walking%20Trail.pdf.
24. Jesmond and Arlston (formerly Benton)
Located at 32-34 Eastern Beach Road, this is a stunning example of a Victorian Eclectic duo or terraces. Known as Jesmond and Arlston (formerly) Benton the two terraces were erected in 1880 for Ward Nicholson, the part-proprietor of the Vulcan Foundry, a Geelong iron foundry. A City of Geelong Urban Conservation Study noted of these remarkable buildings: “This distinctive and elaborately enhanced terrace pair, with finely detailed cast iron balcony, cement render mouldings and interior is an important example of the terrace house in Geelong with detailing characteristic of the work of architect, Alexander Davidson, a close friend of foundryman Ward Nicholson and possibly the architect for this exceptional semi-detached pair.” They were an important milestone in the development of the Queen Anne revival style in Victoria. Check out http://images.heritage.vic.gov.au/attachment/2585 for more information.
25. Corio Villa
Located at 56 Eastern Beach Road is 'Corio Villa', is a rare and beautiful masterpiece of a house. It is a prefabricated building and it is now considered to be the finest example in the country. The building was originally commissioned by Geelong's Land Commissioner in 1854 but he died before the prefabricated parts had arrived. A local magistrate, entrepreneur and bank director named Alfred Douglass purchased the parts at a reduced price. The building was completed in 1856. The building's uniqueness was ensured when, soon after it had been exported, a fire destroyed the Edinburgh factory. Outstanding features are the delicate and intricate filigree work on the veranda and porch posts, eaves and bargeboards. The rose-and-thistle theme is crowned by the lion's head motif which forms a keystone to the veranda and porch arches. Today it is private property. It sold for $5 million in 2012. At the time the advertising described it as “Consisting of some 14 rooms it offers exceptional residential accommodation with thoughtful incorporation of modern living, together with stunning Victorian character features. Positioned on a magnificent garden block, ‘Corio Villa’ forms the centrepiece as the jewel in Geelong’s waterfront crown.” It is listed in the Victorian Heritage Database. For more information check out http://vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au/places/result_detail/523. It points out that “The original cast iron house is constructed of 12mm thick cast iron plates 450mm x 300mm bolted together to form flat wall sections. Ornately decorated filigree guilloche, bevelled edged columns are patterned with unidentified foliage and roses in the shape of Scottish bluebells. Other features include fretwork bargeboards, bowed triple-arched bays and a flat-arched porch with arches displaying a lion’s head as a keystone.”
26. Geelong Botanic Gardens
Located off Garden Street in East Geelong, and scenically located above Corio Bay, the Geelong Botanic Gardens were first suggested as early as 1848 and land was set aside in 1851. A committee was formed and the first curator was appointed in 1857 when work on the gardens commenced. They are one of the state's oldest Botanic Gardens and consequently they have an estimated 6000 different species of native and exotic plants and a number of trees which date from the earliest plantings including what is arguably the largest maidenhair in the country. The gunstock tree and Chilean plum fir are the only known examples in the state. Other rarities in Eastern Park (once part of the Gardens) are the soledad, digger and nut pines. The gardens comprise The Forgotten Garden, The Temperate Garden, Flag Lawn, Walnut Lawn, Bunya Lawn, Oak Lawn, Tea House Lawn, Rose Garden Lawn and the superb 21st Century Garden (opened in 2002) which showcases local flora from Anglesea and the Brisbane Ranges as well as drought tolerant natives from around Australia, a variety of succulents, Queensland Bottle Trees (Brachychiton rupestris) and the Dragon's Blood Tree. The Gardens are open daily from 7.30 am to 5.00 pm. There are guided tours – check https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/gbg/about/task/item/8cc3a653a102449.aspx for details, tel: (03) 5227 0387. There is an excellent, downloadable map of the gardens. Check https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/common/public/images/inpage/gbgvisitormap.jpg. 7.30am-5pm (closes 7pm during daylight savings) www.geelongaustralia.com.
27. Rhythms of Life
Located in Eastern Park at the end where Hearne Parade and the Eastern Park Circuit meet (near Limeburners Point), Rhythms of Life is a stone sculpture comprising hundreds of limestone rocks which was created by internationally famous Australian sculptor, Andrew Rogers. He has created his land art works (geoglyphs) from local materials in countries around the world including Switzerland, Slovakia, Chile, Turkey and China.
Geelong’s geoglyph (2006) is of hard limestone, with an open structure that encourages people to wander around the rocks. The biggest rock points to the You Yangs, where a second geoglyph is located. Since 1999, Andrew Rogers has produced the world's most extraordinary contemporary land art undertaking – Rhythms of Life, successfully demonstrating how art and nature can enhance each other. This land art project involves 51 sculptures across 16 countries spanning all seven continents. The project was summed up by the Director of the Akureyri Art Museum in Iceland, who wrote: “The Rhythms of Life project by Australian artist Andrew Rogers is the largest contemporary land-art project in the world, forming a chain of stone sculptures, or geoglyphs, around the globe. Monumental geoglyphs have been constructed in ten countries to date: Israel, Chile, Bolivia, Sri Lanka, Australia, Iceland, China, India, Turkey and Nepal. Future locations will include the United States, United Kingdom, Eastern Europe and Africa. By completion, the project will have involved over 5,000 people on six continents. The Rhythms of Life sculptures are optimistic metaphors for the eternal cycle of life and regeneration, expressive and suggestive of human striving and introspection. The geoglyphs embrace a wide cultural vision that links memory and various symbols derived from ancient rock carvings, paintings and legends in each region; they punctuate time and extend history into the distant future while delving into the depths of our heritage in pursuit of the spiritual. The exhibition at the Akureyri Art Museum in Iceland is the first general survey of the project".
28. William Buckley Discovery Trail
Starting on Hearne Parade beyond the Eastern Beach swimming pool, the William Buckley Discovery Trail (brochures can be obtained at the Visitor Centre) covers six significant sites across the Geelong region. Buckley was a remarkable and genuinely famous convict. His was one of the great stories of escape.
In 1803 he escaped from custody in Sorrento and for the next three decades, he lived with the local Wathaurong people and wandered through the region. Much of the information we have of the traditional life of the Wathaurong people comes from the accounts of Buckley who eventually reconnected with the British in 1838. The trail is extensive. It covers:
• The You Yangs: - Buckley headed for the You Yangs looking for food but eventually headed for the coast.
• Point Lonsdale: - It is possible to still see the cave where Buckley sheltered. It is just below the lighthouse. See the Aussie Towns entry for details.
• Bream Creek: - Buckley built a hut here and set up camp with the Wathaurong people.
• Aireys Inlet: - Buckley wandered along the coast as far as Aireys Inlet where he built a hut.
• Indented Head: - Buckley met John Batman's party here on 9 June 1835. This marked his return to European society.
• Buckley Falls: - One of the early settlers, John Helder Wedge, named the falls after Buckley.
29. Eastern Beach Bathing Complex
Located at Eastern Beach Reserve, this elegant swimming pool was constructed between 1928 and 1939, the Eastern Beach Bathing Complex. It was, as the Victorian Heritage Database (see http://vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au/places/result_detail/3785) points out, “the last major enclosed sea bathing facility to be constructed on Port Phillip Bay”. It goes on to point out “Eastern Beach represents an innovative example of the work of structural engineer and architect, Harry Hare, whose design for the Eastern Beach foreshore redevelopment works won the competition in 1924-5. The baths, including timber promenade and concrete children's pool were constructed to a plan drawn up by City Surveyor Ian McDonald in 1937 and is unique within Victoria. The sea-baths are illustrative of the traditional pastime of sea bathing, popular since the 1840s and are representative of the transition from segregated and private bathing in the 19th century to mixed public bathing and pursuit of sport and leisure in the early 20th century. The design of Eastern Beach Bathing Complex and landscaped reserve with curved sea walls, circular promenade (baths), circular concrete children's pool, symmetry of the landscaping and structures about the staircase, original buildings, shelters, fountain, lamp standards and extensive original planting forms an area of consistent and quite outstanding character and it is the only known example within Victoria.” The shark-proof enclosure was developed after a woman lost both arms in an attack.
30. The Carousel
Located at the end of Steampacket Gardens, the hand-carved wooden Carousel is a vital part of the unique waterfront at Geelong. It is an Armitage-Herschell portable steam driven carousel which was constructed circa 1892. It is now one of only 200 in operation around the world. It was purchased in 1996 and restored including 36 Dare horses and two chariots. There is also a replica 1898 Gavioli and Co. Band organ in the pavilion. It operates in the summer months from October - March: Monday to Friday 10.30 am -5.00 pm, Saturday 10.30 am – 8.00 pm, Sunday 10.30 am – 6.00 pm and through the winter, from April - September: daily from 11.00 am - 4.30 pm. The hours are subject to change. See https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/carousel/article/item/8d22ed7749cdf2b.aspx for prices.
31. Paving Splats
Located in front of the Carousel on the pavement beside Corio Bay, the Paving Splats (2000) were developed by Maggie Fooke and Bill Perrin. They are, as the name suggests, ‘splattered’ works of art which have been created as pavement inlays. Made from stainless steel with cast inlays depicting imported and locally made objects, the “splats” were created as fun objects for people walking along the foreshore.
32. Poppykettle Playground
Located next to Cunningham Pier, the Poppykettle Playground is a fun playground for children which was created as a response to the remarkable work of local children’s book illustrator, Robert Ingpen. His book The Voyage of the Poppykettle is a Geelong-based fable about sea-faring Hairy Peruvians who landed at Limeburners Point. The playground has a pyramidal climbing frame, an interactive water feature and a skate park.
33. Walk West Sculpture Trail
Further west along the Corio Bay foreshore is Western Beach where there are two sculptures designed by Tania Virgona and Mark Trinham in 2003. On Tania Virgona’s website the project is described by Helena Buxton, a Landscape Architect, “Giant metal blades that feature along the walking trail were created by Tania Virgona and make direct reference to the grass plant family. The important group of plants has provide all cultures with a basic food source, grain since the earliest of times.
“The sculpture cluster on Ripley Lane was created by Mark Trinham and is an artistic interpretation the change from the natural state, represented by the seed, to the cultural condition where the natural environment and the human state are combined into one outcome.
“At the end of the trail Tania and Mark have contributed to collaborative installations of mixed timber and metal. The organic forms directly refer to growth and the emergence of change. Each piece is sited to encourage the public as they walk along Western Beach or Packington Street. The walking trail is intended to encourage the wider Geelong community at key points along the route and the sculptures at either end are an invitation to take the Walk West trail that links Packington Street to Corio Bay.” See http://taniavirgona.com.au/portfolio/walk-west/ for more details.
34. Looking Forward
Located above Western Beach and beyond Griffin Gully Pier, this sculpture of a White-Faced Heron in flight (2000) by Cinnamon Stephens and her father Geo Francis commemorates Greening West's revegetation work in the area. It represents the return of wildlife to the area, and celebrates a vision for the future, the bird's take-off position expressing energy and life as she heads out across the bay.
Located at the Corio Bay end of Moorabool Street, the seven sculptures are known as North and were created by Mark Stoner in 2000. The pieces are made of case cement panels and have been compared to either sails or fins. They vary in size from 2.2 to 3.5 metres high. All the “fins” are placed at different angles which results in people inspecting the work experiencing different relationships as they walk around and through the structures. See https://markstoner.com.au/projects/north for more information. The sculpture was commissioned by the City of Greater Geelong.
36. Sailors’ Rest
Located on the corner of Eastern Beach Road and Moorabool Street, The Sailors’ Rest was built in 1912 and today, while now a restaurant, it still has an electric sign (above the building) which is reputedly the oldest remaining electric sign in Victoria. The sign is listed on the Victorian Heritage Database which notes of the building and the sign: “The King Edward VII Sailors' Rest building was built in Geelong to a design by the Geelong architect, Percy Everett in 1912. The Sailors' Rest was an evangelical temperance organisation designed to provide welfare services to sailors; to attempt to divert them away from alcohol and other temptations of the town and to encourage them to return to or continue to practice Christianity. In order to attract more sailors to the 'Rest' an electric bulb sign was installed in 1926. The animated sign operated with flashing letters and words and was intended to be very noticeable from Yarra and Cunningham piers as the sailors disembarked. The sign was built by the nearby Melbourne Electric Supply Company and donated to the Sailors' Rest by Howard Hitchcock former mayor of Geelong and Chairman of the Sailors' Rest Committee. The sign is understood to have ceased operation from the 1950s until 1997 when it again operated but without animation.” There is a detailed description of the Electric Sign at http://vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au/places/result_detail/4953.
37. Barcode Fountain
Located in the Customs House Forecourt Park and commissioned by the City of Greater Geelong in 2000, this very unusual art work comprises a barcode reproduced on stainless steel panels. Known as the Barcode Fountain it utilises the of Noddy’s Soft Drink, a Geelong product. It is well described at https://www.visitgeelongbellarine.com.au/blog/walk-by-the-water-admire-the-art: “The design creates a waterfall effect as the panels terrace towards the beach, allowing the water to peacefully trickle down. Also worth a look at night time as it features blue strip lights that really bring it to life.”
38. Cargo Boxes
Located in the Customs House Forecourt Park, the very unusual Cargo Boxes (2000) were created by Maggie Fookes and Bill Perrin. The art works are a series of brass and glass boxes containing sculptures and artefacts – fruit, rabbits, vegetables, shackled feet – which were the early imports to Geelong. Each box features relates specifically to a ship which carried the goods. They are especially impressive during the night when the Cargo Boxes are lit.
39. Former Geelong Customs House
Located at 57-59 Brougham Street, “The Geelong Customs House was built by W.G. Cornish, in 1856 as a three storey ashlar sandstone and rubble basalt structure. It is the finest mid nineteenth century public building in western Victoria. This distinctive georgian composition clearly reflects the influence of earlier N.S.W. colonial public building traditions as espoused by architect James Balmain.” It is an elegant example of the Colonial Georgian style and served as a customs house. It was restored in 2012 and is now offices and a restaurant. See https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/18398 for more details.
40. Geelong Club
Located at 74 Brougham Street, the Geelong Club is a symbol of the money that swirled around in the upper echelons of the Geelong elite. The club proudly explains that it has “experienced three Victorian premiers as members (Sir Charles Sladen, Graham Berry and Sir Henry Bolte), one Governor General (Sir Richard Casey), 13 Knights of the Realm, several Order of Australia recipients, a Victoria Cross winner, numerous members of parliament and cabinet ministers, many municipal councillors and mayors.”
“The Geelong Club was formed in 1859 by a group of Western District squatters and their Geelong town professional associates at a time when Geelong was experiencing the gold rush boom. It was intended to be a men only, exclusive social group, which took its ease over fine dining, billiards, cards, cigars and conversation.” The men-only club finally admitted women to full membership in 1993. The Club house was designed by Charles Douglas Figgis, the building is an unusual example of transitional Queen Anne style. See https://thegeelongclub.com.au/ for more information.
41. National Wool Museum
Located at 26 Moorabool Street, the impressive three-storey Dennys Lascelles Woolstore, with its fine windows, was built of bluestone and completed in 1872 although later additions (to 1930) have resulted in three separate buildings behind a single facade. Drays once unloaded their wool here and was taken inside to the wool show floor where buyers inspected the produce. The building now houses the National Wool Museum which is dedicated to the history of the Australian wool industry which has played such a vital part in Geelong's development. It chronicles the beginning of the wool industry in Geelong in the 1840s and continues up to the present day.
The foyer is now an orientation area and there are changing exhibitions, souvenirs and sales of Australian-made wool and wool-related products.
A ramp leads past a working 1910 carpet loom (which still produces the Manor House Rug for purchase) to the first gallery which looks at the pastoral aspect of wool in Australia, focusing on the human effort involved in breeding appropriate sheep for the new conditions and producing quality fleece. It includes a reconstructed shearing plant and shearer's quarters, utilising backdrops and sound effects to recreate aspects of the past. Displays deal with the arts of shearing, wool cleaning, classing, pressing and despatching.
The second gallery is concerned with both the people involved in the textile industry and the processes - scouring, carding, combing, spinning, weaving, knitting, dyeing, mending and finishing. The relevant industrial machinery is on show and a separate display examines the changing fortunes of the Australian textile industry and the influences upon those fortunes. There is also a recreated mill worker's cottage, the Reminiscence Cottage - with an audio-visual display on the lives of mill workers and the industrial events which affected their lives.
The third gallery is located on the top floor which, with its innovative saw-tooth skylight roof, was once the Dennys Lascelles wool show floor. It houses changing temporary exhibitions.
The museum is located at the corner of Moorabool St and Brougham St . It is open seven days a week from 10.00 am – 3.00 pm, tel: (03) 5272 4701 or check out https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/nwm/nwm/history/article/item/8cbcc313afa77a5.aspx.
42. Costa Hall
Located at 1-11 Gheringhap Street on the Deakin University Waterfront Campus, Costa Hall was opened in 1996. It has a state-of-the-art, 1500 seat concert auditorium which has become a premier concert and music venue in Geelong. Tel: 03 5225 1200 or check https://geelongartscentre.org.au/venue-hire/costa-hall.
43. Ford Discovery Centre
44. Wool Exchange
Located at 44 Corio Street, the former Wool Exchange is listed by the Victorian Heritage Database which notes that it: “was constructed in 1927-28 for the Geelong Wool Exchange Pty Ltd. At a contract price of £14,514 by builders H Beach and Sons Pty Ltd. The prominent Geelong firm Laird and Buchan were the architects of the building which survives, highly intact … it is one of Geelong's major public buildings from the inter war period and as a late example of the renaissance revival the facade reflects the generally conservative character of the wool industry. Roofed with a barrel vault, the main sales room has a striking interior decorated with Neo-Greco detail.” See http://vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au/places/result_detail/521?print=true for more detail.
45. Spirit of Anzac
Located in Johnstone Park near the corner of Gheringhap & Malop Streets, this “statue, `Spirit of Anzac` of a bronzed ANZAC soldier in boots, shorts and hat with a regimental flag draped over a broken gun barrel was designed by Wallace Anderson and erected at the Returned Soldiers and Sailors Woollen Mill in Pakington Street, Chilwell in 1929. The statue commemorates those who served in World War One.” It was relocated to its current location in 1982. For more information check out https://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/culture/display/31395-spirit-of-anzac.
46. City Hall
Located at 30 Gheringhap Street, the gracious and impressive City Hall is reputedly the oldest extant municipal hall in the country. It is listed by the Victorian Heritage Database which notes: “In 1854 a competition was held to design a town hall. A £100 prize was awarded to winning architect, Joseph Reed. The foundation stone for the new town hall was laid on 9 April 1855 and construction of the first stage, which included the southern frontage facing Little Malop Street and the central hall, commenced. In 1915 - 1917, the building was finally completed by local architect, T D Slevin, substantially to Reed’s original design … In 1854 a competition was held to design a town hall. A £100 prize was awarded to winning architect, Joseph Reed. The foundation stone for the new town hall was laid on 9 April 1855 and construction of the first stage, which included the southern frontage facing Little Malop Street and the central hall, commenced. In 1915- 17, the building was finally completed by local architect, T D Slevin, substantially to Reed’s original design.”
47. Johnstone Park
Bounded by Railway Terrace, Gheringhap Street, Little Malop Street, Fenwick Street, Gordon Avenue and Mercer Street, Johnstone Park, once a swamp, was opened in 1872 by Mayor Robert De Bruce Johnstone. It is ideal for a picnic or a pleasant wander. It contains two cast iron ‘De Medici’ urns (1873); statue of King George V (1938); late Edwardian Baroque style Peace Memorial (1926); Hitchcock Memorial Bandstand and gates (1919 & 1925); and Stitt Jenkins Drinking Fountain (1860), which is the earliest existing fountain associated with the temperance movement.
Geelong Baywalk Bollards
One of the highlights of the waterfront is that, in 1995, the artist Jan Mitchell was commissioned by the City of Greater Geelong to take old timber pier pylons and turn them into works of art. The Geelong Bollard Trail features 48 sites and will take around two hours to inspect the "more than 100" bollards which stretch along the waterfront from Limeburner's Point to Rippleside Park. There is a list of all the bollards, starting in the south and moving past the swimming pool, Steampacket Gardens and Cunningham Pier and ending at Rippleside Park. It can be accessed at the City Council website. Check out https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/bollards/article/item/8d250a1f01e3425.aspx. Of particular interest is the five bollards known as The Western Beach Sea Bathing Company. The company was established in 1872 but, with a sense of fun, the ‘swimmers’ are portraits of politicians Gordon Scholes, Nipper Trezise, Jeff Kennett, and a young Sir Hubert Opperman. Former Prime Minister John Howard is depicted wearing glasses that are tied on with elastic.
Other Attractions in the Area
Lake Connewarre State Wildlife Reserve
Located 15 km south-west of Geelong is the Lake Connewarre State Wildlife Reserve and Reedy Lake. It is an area of swamps, marshes, lakes and rivers which has a boat ramp; a pleasant picnic location at Taits Point; good opportunities to fish for bream, redfin, mulloway and yellow eyed mullet; and important migratory bird habitats which are havens for bitterns, swamp hens, ibis, spoonbills, egrets, cormorants and herons. It is also a " significant habitat for a number of endangered migratory bird species. Two international agreements with Japan and China ensure species such as Greenshank, Eastern Golden Plover and Red-knecked Stints are protected." There is a useful Park Note which can be downloaded (it has detailed maps) at https://www.barwoncoast.com.au/sites/default/files/park-note-lake-connewarre-state-game-reserve.pdf.
Bellarine Rail Trail
The Bellarine Rail Trail, a walking and cycling track, runs for 32.5 km from Geelong (the route begins at Strong Street at Swanston Street near the South Geelong railway station) through Drysdale to Queenstowns=. It is recognised as a hilly route which passes through farmland, native vegetation and along the edge of Swan Bay. For more detailed information check out https://www.railtrails.org.au/trail?view=trail&id=139.
Located at 1249 Bellarine Highway, Wallington - 16 km from Geelong - is Adventure Park. Set in parkland it has a wide range of activities for families, including ten water-based activities including a 115-metre raft waterslide and a jumping jets water park; mini golf - Fortress Falls and Skeleton Creek; a little buggy speedway; a grand carousel and ferris wheel. Facilities include a kiosk and cafe, undercover seating and wheelchair access. Gas barbecues and VIP cabanas are available for hire. Opening hours are from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm (although they vary slightly due to school holidays) seven days a week. Check out https://www.adventurepark.com.au/park-info/opening-hours for details. Adventure Park is closed for about two months each winter, approximately from July to September, tel: (03) 5250 2756 or https://www.adventurepark.com.au/. A site map is available from the admission centre and can be downloaded from the website.
Wineries in the Area
In areas like Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula, where there are more than 40 vineyards and cellar doors, it is best to refer to the specific knowledge provided by the local winery sites. The Wine Geelong site (https://winegeelong.com.au) provides maps and all the details of opening hours, phone numbers and contact point for each winery in the district. The Wine Geelong website notes: "Geelong is home to three diverse sub-regions – the Surf Coast, the Moorabool Valley and the Bellarine Peninsula – each with differing soils, conditions, wine styles and charms ... The Bellarine has been one of Victoria’s best kept secrets. Now the secret is out and people flock to enjoy the perfect maritime climate of warm days and cool nights. The shelter of Port Phillip Bay is perfect for producing cool climate wines in the rich black basalt soil laid over limestone. Long, slow summers allow for the perfect ripening of the fruit producing rich, lush wines of distinction." Today the region is producing Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Shiraz.
Located 9 km south west of the Geelong CBD via Barrabool Road, Brownhill Lookout is located in Drewan Park on Wandana Drive. It offers superb panoramic views, from an elevated platform, which extend from the Brisbane Ranges and You Yangs in the north, across Geelong, Corio Bay and the Bellarine Peninsula to the east, to Torquay and Bass Strait in the south.
Barrabool Maze Estate
Located at 35 Walter Road (13 km west of the CBD), Barrabool Maze Estate sits on 1.6 hectares. Originally it was developed in the 1990s with a hedge maze, terraced perennial gardens and ponds, a Californian style garden, a nursery and cafe. It closed in 2009 and fell into disrepair. The current owners have revitalised the maze (a major undertaking), the gardens and the cafe and turned the "estate" primarily into a wedding venue. It is open to the general public with the cafe and maze open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm, tel: 0408 328 145 or check out https://barraboolmaze.com.au.
Located 20 km north of Geelong, the Serendip Sanctuary is a 250 ha grassy woodlands and wetlands rich in kangaroos, wallabies, emus and a huge variety of birdlife. It is home to over 150 species of birdlife common to the western plains of Victoria.
The Wildlife Walk through the sanctuary offers close encounters with wildlife including emus and Eastern Grey Kangaroos grazing to viewing areas, hides and flight aviaries perfect for bird watching. It is possible to see Brolgas, Whistling Kites soaring above, Yellow-billed Spoonbills wading through the shallow water, or even Tawny Frogmouth hidden in the bushes. The sanctuary's captive breeding program creates an opportunity of viewing rare and threatened species such as brolgas, Australian bustards, Cape Barron geese, Bush stone curlew and magpie geese. Check out https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/places-to-see/parks/serendip-wetlands-education-facility for more information. There are guided tours on the weekends.
You Yangs Regional Park
Beyond the Serendip Sanctuary, and 24 km north of Geelong, is the You Yangs Regional Park. The first European to climb the You Yangs was Matthew Flinders in 1802. The subsequent occupation by Europeans led to farming and timber cutting which resulted in large tracts of native vegetation being cleared and the introduction of sugar gum and brown mallet. Today the vegetation in the park consists of manna gums, yellow gums, river red gums and sparse undergrowth. In 1985 more than 80% of the park was destroyed by bushfires. Since then kangaroos, koalas, sugar gliders, possums and 200 bird species have returned.
Today, as explained by Parks Victoria (see https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/places-to-see/parks/you-yangs-regional-park), the park offers "Magnificent views, birdlife and a mecca for walkers, horse riders and mountain bikers ... The distinctive granite peaks of this park rise abruptly from the flat plains below. Flinders Peak and Big Rock have panoramic views out to Melbourne, which is just an hour away."
AllTrails lists, and describes in detail, 16 great hiking trails, trail running trails, walking trails. See https://www.alltrails.com/parks/australia/victoria/you-yangs-regional-park.
One of the most popular is:
* The Flinders Peak Lookout Walk - 3.2 km return and 450 steps - which leaves from the Turntable car park and goes to the highest point of the You Yangs (348 m above sea-level) which provides views across to Mount Macedon, Geelong, Corio Bay and the Melbourne skyline. Apart from the view, one of the highlights of the walk is that 150 m west of the picnic ground there are rock wells which were carved out of the granite by the Wathawurung to conserve rainwater. Spring and summer are the best times to visit the park. The visitors' centre at the park has interesting displays and information about the park.
* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was home to the Wathawurung First Nation people.
* The first Europeans to visit Port Phillip Bay were the party of Lieutenant John Murray in 1802.
* Later that same year, Matthew Flinders explored the bay more closely. He rowed across Corio Bay and climbed the You Yangs.
* Governor King sent a surveyor who mapped Port Phillip though it is unlikely he set foot on what is now Geelong.
* A short-lived attempt to establish a colony on the Mornington Peninsula ensued in 1803-04. Lieutenant Tuckey ventured out from this settlement and was probably the first European to investigate the future townsite.
* One of the convicts from the settlement, named William Buckley, escaped and was adopted by a local Aboriginal tribe with whom he lived for 32 years.
* In 1824 Hamilton Hume and William Hovell travelled overland to the western shore of the bay which the Wathawurung called 'Jillong'.
* In 1835 John Batman inspected the area. He was acting on behalf of the Port Phillip Association who were looking for new pasturage as Van Dieman's Land was quickly being swallowed up. In the process he encountered the long lost Buckley who became an interpreter and guide for the Association. An account of his 'life and adventures' was published in 1852.
* Batman signed the Geelong Deed with eight Aboriginal leaders. This 'agreement' ceded 100 000 acres around the future Geelong (including the entire Bellarine peninsula) to the Association, in exchange for a down payment and a yearly tribute of blankets, knives, tomahawks, looking glasses, scissors, clothing and flour.
* Governor Bourke declared the 'agreement' illegal but proved helpless to stop a flood of large sheep stations which were taken up in 1836 by the likes of Dr Alexander Thomson, John Cowie and David Stead. A wool store was opened that same year on the townsite.
* In 1837 Governor Bourke visited the new settlement which he had surveyed. It became the site of only the second police station of the Port Phillip district when Foster Fyans was appointed as police magistrate and protector of Aborigines. Geelong's first house of any substance was built that same year.
* John Cowie and David Stead erected a lookout on what is now Bell Post Hill so that incoming ships be quickly spotted; the reason being that goods from Van Dieman's Land had to be left at Point Henry as a sandbar prevented the entry of large vessels into the bay. A bell was also set up on the hill to alert settlers in case of Aboriginal attack.
* In 1838 Geelong was proclaimed a town. Two stores, the Woolpack Inn and a customs station were opened. The latter is now Victoria's oldest building still standing. * Land sales commenced in 1839.
* The Geelong Advertiser, established as a weekly in 1840, was the first newspaper outside of Melbourne in the Port Phillip district.
* By the end of 1841, the population was 454, a post office, two watch-houses and a clerk of works' office had been established.
* A Presbyterian church was built from 1841-42.
* After Governor LaTrobe married a Swiss wife he encouraged some Swiss to settle in the area in 1842. They established a vineyard which produced its first wines in 1845.
* Christ Church (Anglican), designed by Edmund Blacket and built from 1843 to 1847, is the state's oldest church in continuous use.
* For entertainment, regular horse races were held from 1843, sea baths were established in 1844, regattas were held from 1844 and a theatre was built in 1847.
* By 1846 the population had increased to 2065.
* A mechanics' institute was built in 1847 and a savings bank opened in 1848.
* By 1848 Geelong's exports exceeded those of Melbourne.
* In the 1840s 90% of local exports consisted of wool, with tallow, live sheep, sheepskins and salted mutton most of which left from Geelong.
* The 1840s and early 1850s saw the creation of Geelong's first industries - flour mills, lime kilns (possibly the first in Victoria), soapworks, tanneries and a ropeworks.
* Geelong was proclaimed a borough in 1849 and Alexander Thomson was elected the first mayor the following year.
* the construction of a benevolent asylum for the destitute in 1850-52
* Rapid commercial and industrial development ensued and from 1851 to 1854 the population increased from 8291 to 20,106.
* In 1855 Geelong Church of England Grammar was established.
* The first editor of the Geelong Advertiser had created Australia's first iceworks in 1856.
* By 1857 the population, driven by the gold boom, had reached 23,314.
* In 1857 the railway to Williamstown was opened.
* There were 96 hotels by 1858.
* The railway was extended to Melbourne in 1859
* Geelong College was opened in 1861.
* The railway line to Ballarat was completed in 1862.
* Victoria's first woollen textile mill had opened at Geelong by 1865.
* A boot factory was opened in 1874.
* By 1877, there were over 100 vineyards in the area.
* In 1878 a paper mill opened.
* An aphid infestation led to the destruction of all grape vines in the area in the 1880s.
* A saltworks and cement works opened in 1888.
* A butter and cheese factory opened in 1893. The port's viability was improved in 1893 when a sandbar was dredged.
* A meat-freezing works opened in 1894.
* The City of Geelong was proclaimed in 1910.
* The first automatic telephone exchange in Australia was installed at Geelong in 1912.
* Four textile mills opened (employing over 5000 people) in the years immediately after World War I.
* A fertiliser plant was established in 1923
* A phosphate co-op was formed in 1925.
* Ford opened their first Australian motor-car plant at Geelong in 1925.
* A distillery was built in 1928.
* Pilkington set up their safety glass factory in 1937
* International Harvesters began manufacturing agricultural equipment in 1940. The grain terminal, then one of the largest in the world, was also completed in 1940.
* A rayon spinning plant was established in 1952.
* Shell built an oil refinery in 1954
* ALCOA opened an aluminium smelter in 1963 using local brown coal for fuel.^ TOP
Geelong Visitor Information Centre, 26 Moorabool Street, tel: (03) 5222 2900, 1800 755 611.^ TOP
The official website is https://www.visitgeelongbellarine.com.au.^ TOP