Geelong is Victoria's second largest city (after Melbourne) and an important industrial city and port. It is the home of a Ford car factory and of a famous AFL football team.
Geelong was founded in 1836 as a center for the shipping of wool and wheat from the local region.
In the Victorian gold rush era of the 1850s, it was an important entry point of the floods of immigrants heading for the goldfields. And much of the gold that was found on the goldfields was shipped out to the United Kingdom, Europe and America via the port of Geelong.
Industrialization of Geelong started around 1900.
National Wool Centre
This bluestone building operated as a woolstore and auction room for more than a hundred years (from the 1880s through to the 1970s). Here wool was received from Victorian farms, classed, auctioned, stored and finally shipped to factories and other customers all over the world.
The building now houses a museum for wool industry, which (along with the mining and cattle industries) has always been one of Australia's top industries. You can visit the recreation of a shearing shed and learn about the different classes of fleece and their uses.
Ford Discovery Centre
Ford has had a car factory in Geelong since 1925 and is an important part of the city's economy.
In the Ford Discovery Centre, located down on Geelong's waterfront, you can learn about automotive technology and have a behind the scenes look at how cars are made. You can also learn about the history of the Ford in Australia and inspect their collection of classic and modern Ford cars (for example, the 1913 Ford Model T Runabout).
Geelong Maritime Museum
Also known as the Geelong Naval and Maritime Museum, this museum features the fascinating stories of naval personnel, navigators, immigrants and others who have a connection with the sea. On display are artefacts and memorabilia such as photos, ship models, flags, shipwreck items, and more.
The Museum is housed in Osborne House (which was in earlier times Australia's first naval college and then a submarine base). It is open from 10 am to 4 pm daily.
Geelong has over 100 buildings which have been place on the Register of the National Trust. These include the National Wool Centre (1872; for details, see above), Barwon Grange (1856; a neo-gothic house located beside the Barwon River), and The Heights (1855; a pre-fabricated weatherboard house from Germany).
Geelong Art Gallery
The Geelong Art Gallery is the home of many paintings by 19th century Australian artists, such as Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin, Arthur Streeton and Eugene von Guerard, as well as quite a few 20th century Australian paintings, by painters such as Charles Blackman and Fred Williams.
The Gallery's most famous painting is probably McCubbin's A Bush Burial.
Geelong Botanic Gardens
These gardens, set beside Corio Bay, date from the early 1850s. The Old Customs House, built in Sydney in 1838 and shipped to Geelong, is believed to be the oldest extant timber building in Australia.
Eastern Beach is a great place for swimming (it has a whole swimming complex including swimming and diving pontoons, childrens swimming pool and picnic areas).
A short walk along the shore brings you the steam-driven Geelong Waterfront Carousel, the bay walk bollards and then to the Cunningham Pier.