Australia For Visitors > Geelong, Victoria


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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.

View of Geelong (1856) by Eugene von Guerard (image)

View of Geelong (1856) by Eugene von Guerard.This oil painting may be viewed at the Geelong Art Gallery.

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

UPDATE: Sadly the Ford Discovery Centre closed its doors at the end of July 2012. This was a great shame for Geelong and Australia. An important section of Australia's engineering heritage will disappear from public view. Any "virtual" museum (that is, online museum or digital archives) replacement will always run a poor second best to the hands-on experiences of engaging real world displays the Ford Discovery Centre provided.

Unfortunately, Ford has also announced that it will cease producing motor vehicles in Australia in 2016.

Ford has had a car factory in Geelong since 1925 and has always been an important part of the city's economy.

For 13 years (until 2012) the Ford company maintained a museum devoted to the history of Ford in Australia. Called the Ford Discovery Centre, and located down on Geelong's waterfront, in this museum you were able to learn about automotive technology and have a behind the scenes look at how cars were made. You could 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).

See also: Ford Discovery website.

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.

Historic Houses

Geelong has over 100 buildings which have been placed 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

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.

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Author: David Paul Wagner
(David Paul Wagner on Google+)

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