Geelong is the second largest city in the state of Victoria, Australia and is the largest regional centre in the state. It is a port city with an urban population of 160,991 people, and one of the largest provincial cities in Australia. The city is located on Corio Bay and the Barwon River, south-west of the state's capital, Melbourne, and is covered by the City of Greater Geelong municipality.
The urban area runs from the plains of Lara in the north to the rolling hills of Waurn Ponds to the south, with the bay to the east and hills to the west. The climate is temperate, with four distinct seasons. The city is the home to car manufacturer Ford Australia and the Geelong Football Club, nicknamed The Cats.
Geelong was named in 1837 by Governor Richard Burke, with the name derived from the local Wathaurong Aboriginal name for the region, Jillong, thought to mean 'land' or 'cliffs'. The area was first surveyed in 1838, three weeks after Melbourne, and the Post Office was open by June 1840. The first woolstore was erected in this period and Geelong became the port for the wool industry of the Western District. The gold rush in Ballarat saw the population of Geelong increase to 22,000 by the mid 1850s. The city then diversified into manufacturing, rivalling Sydney, Hobart and Melbourne as wool mills, ropeworks, and paper mills were established, but the next few decades saw the population stay relatively constant until the 20th century.
Geelong was proclaimed a city in 1910, with industrial growth from this time until the 1960s establishing the city as a manufacturing centre for the state, and saw the population grow to over 100,000 by the mid 1960s. Population increases over the last decade were due to growth in service industries, as the manufacturing sector has declined. Redevelopment of the inner city has occurred since the 1990s, as well as gentrification of inner suburbs. Geelong now has a population growth rate higher than the national average, and is the 12th largest city in Australia.
The first non-Aboriginal person recorded as visiting the Geelong region was Lt. John Murray, who commanded the brig Lady Nelson. After anchoring outside Port Phillip Heads (the narrow entrance to Port Phillip, onto which both Geelong and Melbourne now front) on 1 February 1802 he sent a small boat with six men to explore. Led by John Bowen they explored the immediate area, returning to the Lady Nelson on 4 February. On reporting favourable findings, the Lady Nelson entered Port Phillip on 14 February, and did not leave until 12 March. During this time, Murray explored the Geelong area and, whilst on the far side of the bay, claimed the entire area for Britain. He named the bay Port King, after Philip Gidley King, then Governor of New South Wales. Governor King later renamed the bay Port Phillip Bay after the first governor of Australia, Arthur Phillip. Arriving not long after Murray was Matthew Flinders, who entered Port Phillip Bay on 27 April 1802. He charted the entire bay, including the Geelong area, believing he was the first to sight the huge expanse of water, but in a rush to reach Sydney before winter set in he left Port Phillip on 3 May.
In January 1803, Surveyor-General Charles Grimes arrived at Port Phillip in the sloop Cumberland and mapped the area, including the future site of Geelong, but reported the area was unfavourable for settlement and returned to Sydney on 27 February. In October of the same year, the HMS Calcutta led by Lieutenant-Colonel David Collins arrived in the bay to establish the Sullivan Bay penal colony. Collins was dissatisfied with the area chosen, and sent a small party led by First Lieutenant J.H. Tuckey to investigate alternate sites. The party spent 22 October to 27 October on the north shore of Corio Bay, where the first Aboriginal death at the hands of European in Victoria occurred.
The next European visit to the Geelong area was by the explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell. They reached the northern edge of Corio Bay - the area of Port Phillip Bay that Geelong now fronts - on 16 December 1824, and it was at this time they reported that the Aborigines called the area Corayo, the bay being called Jillong. Hume and Hovell had been contracted to travel overland from Sydney to Port Phillip, and having achieved this they stayed the night and begun their return journey two days later on 18 December.
The convict William Buckley escaped from the Sullivan Bay settlement in 1803, and lived among the Wathaurong people for 32 years on the Bellarine Peninsula. In 1835, John Batman used Indented Head as his base camp, leaving behind several employees whilst he returned to Tasmania (then known as Van Diemen's Land) for more supplies and his family. In this same year, Buckley surrendered to the party led by John Helder Wedge and was later pardoned by Lieutenant-Governor Sir George Arthur, and subsequently given the position of interpreter to the natives.
In March 1836, three squatters, David Fisher, James Strachan and George Russell arrived on the Caledonia and settled the area. Geelong was first surveyed by Assistant Surveyor, W. H. Smythe three weeks after Melbourne, and was gazetted as a town on 10 October 1838. There was already a church, hotel, store and wool store, 82 houses, and the town population was 545. By 1840, the first wool had been sent to England and a regular steamer service was running between Geelong and Melbourne. Captain Foster Fyans was commissioned as the local Police Magistrate in 1837 and established himself on the Barwon River at the site of the area of present-day Fyansford. Fyans constructed a breakwater to improve the water supply to the city by preventing the salty lower reaches from mixing with fresh water and pooling water.
The Geelong Keys were discovered around 1845 by Governor Charles La Trobe on Corio Bay. They were embedded in the stone in such a way that he believed that they had been there for 100–150 years, possibly dropped by Portuguese explorers. In 1849, Fyans was nominated as the inaugural Mayor of the Geelong Town Council. An early settler of Geelong, Alexander Thomson, for which the area of Thomson in East Geelong is named, settled on the Barwon River, and was Mayor of Geelong on five occasions from 1850–1858.
Gold was discovered in nearby Ballarat in 1851, causing the Geelong population to grow to 23,000 people by the mid 1850s. To counter this, a false map was issued by Melbourne interests to new arrivals, showing the quickest road to the goldfields as being via Melbourne. The first issue of the Geelong Advertiser newspaper was published in 1840 by James Harrison, who also devised the world's first successful ice making and refrigeration machinery in 1856.
The Geelong Hospital was opened in 1852, and construction on the Geelong Town Hall commenced in 1855. Development of the Port of Geelong began with the creation of the first shipping channel in Corio Bay in 1853. The Geelong to Melbourne railway was built by the Geelong and Melbourne Railway Company in 1857 and extended to Ballarat in 1862. Rabbits were introduced to Australia in 1859 by Thomas Austin, who imported them from England for hunting purposes at his Barwon Park property near Winchelsea. One of Geelong's best known department stores, Bright and Hitchcocks, was opened in 1861, and the HM Prison Geelong built using convict labour, was opened in 1864.
In 1866 Graham Berry started a newspaper, the Geelong Register, as a rival to the established Geelong Advertiser. When this proved unsuccessful, he bought the Advertiser and made himself editor of the now merged papers. Using the paper as a platform, he was elected for West Geelong in 1869. In 1877 he switched to Geelong, which he represented until 1886, and served as Victorian Premier in 1875, 1877–1880, and 1880–1881. On the Market Square in the middle of the city, a clock tower was erected in 1856, and an Exhibition Building was opened in 1879, ahead of Melbourne.
The gold rush had seen Ballarat and Bendigo grow larger than Geelong in terms of population. Melbourne critics dubbed Geelong 'Sleepy Hollow', a tag that recurred many times in the following years. A number of industries became established in Geelong, including Victoria's first woollen mill at South Geelong in 1868. In 1869 the clipper Lightning caught fire at the Yarra Street pier and was cast adrift in Corio Bay to burn before finally sunk by artillery fire. Improvements to transport saw Geelong emerge as the centre of the Western District of Victoria, with railway lines extended towards Colac in 1876, and to Queenscliff in 1879. Construction of the Hopetoun shipping channel began in 1881 and completed in1893.
The Geelong Cup was first held in 1872 and Victoria's first long distance telephone call was made from Geelong to Queenscliff on 8 January 1878, only one year after the invention of the device itself. Geelong was also the home of a prosperous wine industry until the emergence of the grapevine eating insect phylloxera vastatrix in 1885, which killed the industry until the 1960s. Between 1886 and 1889 the central business district's major banks and insurance companies erected new premises in a solid and ornate character. The existing Geelong Post Office was built during this time and the Gordon Technical College was established. Further industrial growth occurred with the Fyansford cement works established in 1890.
The town of Geelong officially became a city on 8 December 1910. The city gained a number of essential services, with electric light supplied by the Geelong Power Station starting in 1902, the Geelong Harbour Trust was formed in December 1905, and the Geelong Waterworks and Sewerage Trust formed in 1908. Electric trams began operation in 1912, travelling from the city centre to the suburbs until their demise in 1956. The first of many stores on the Market Square was opened in 1913, and the first Gala Day festival was held in 1916.
Geelong's industrial growth accelerated in the 1920's: woollen mills, fertiliser plants, the Ford Motor Company's vehicle plant at Norlane, and the Corio whiskey distillery were all established in this period. The Geelong Advertiser's radio station 3GL (now K-Rock) commenced transmission in 1930, the Great Ocean Road was opened in 1932, and the T & G Building in 1934. The Eastern Beach swimming area was completed in 1939 after almost 10 years of work. In 1938 one of the last Port Philip Bay steamers, Edina, made its final trip to Geelong, ending a romantic period of seaside excursions and contests for the fastest trip. On the eve of World War II the International Harvester works were opened beside Ford at North Shore, a grain elevator at nearby Corio Quay, and the Shell Australia oil refinery. Government housing was constructed in the suburbs of East Geelong, Norlane, North Shore and Corio from the 1950s to provide accommodation for the growing workforce.
Federal Government policy changes on tariff protection led to the closure of many Geelong industrial businesses from the 1970s. The woollen mills closed in 1974 and hectares of warehouse space in the city centre were left empty after wool handling practices changed. The Target head office opened in North Geelong, Deakin University was established at Waurn Ponds in 1974 and the Geelong Performing Arts Centre opened in 1981. Later, the Australian Animal Health Laboratory was opened in 1985, and the National Wool Museum in 1988.
Market Square, the first enclosed shopping centre in the city was opened in 1985, with neighbouring Westfield Geelong (formerly Bay City Plaza) opened in 1988. The Pyramid Building Society, founded in Geelong in 1959, collapsed in 1990 leaving debts of AUD $1.3 billion to over 200,000 depositors, and causing the Geelong economy to stagnate. On 18 May 1993 the City of Greater Geelong was formed by the amalgamation of a number of smaller municipalities with the former City of Geelong. The Waterfront Geelong redevelopment started in 1994 designed to enhance use and appreciation of Corio Bay and in 1995 the Barwon River overflowed in the worst flood since 1952.
In 2004, Avalon Airport was upgraded to provide for interstate passenger travel, providing a base for the low-cost airline Jetstar to service the Melbourne and Geelong urban areas. Geelong expanded towards the coast with Mount Duneed becoming a residential area and plans for anew neighborhood known as Armstrong Creek were developed by City of Greater Geelong. Construction begun on the Geelong Ring Road in 2006. The ring road is designed to replace the Princes Highway through Geelong from Corio to Waurn Ponds and will be operational in 2009.
More than $AUD500 million worth of major construction was under way in Geelong in 2007. Major projects include the $150 million Westfield Geelong expansion works, involving a flyover of Yarra Street, the city's first Big W store and an additional 70 new speciality stores; the $37 million Deakin Waterfront campus redevelopment and the $23 million Deakin Medical School; the $50 million Edgewater apartment development on the waterfront; a number of multi-million dollar office developments in the CBD; and a new $30 million aquatic centre in Waurn Ponds.
The Victorian Government announced the relocation of the Transport Accident Commission headquarters from Melbourne to Geelong in October 2006, which will create 850 jobs and an annual economic benefit of over $59 million to the Geelong region. The construction of the $80 million Brougham Street headquarters is due to be complete by late 2008. In July 2007 Ford Australia announced it would close its Geelong engine plant in 2010 with the loss of about 600 jobs.
On July 10th 2008 approval was given for a $100 million twin tower apartment complex of 16 and 12 floors to be built on Mercer St in the city's Western Wedge. The towers will become the tallest buildings in the city, taking the title from the Mecure Hotel.
The approval of the towers is hoped to spur on further highrise developments in Geelong as part of the councils strategic plan to densify the city. A $17 million 11 level apartment tower has also recently been propesed to be built next to the Deakin Waterfront Campus which will add to the growing number of modern apartment towers on the Waterfront with Edgewater, Peir Point, Bayside Tower and The Esplanade all under construction or approved.
Geelong is located on the shores of Corio Bay, a south-western inlet bay of Port Phillip. During clear weather, the Melbourne skyline is visible from areas of Geelong when viewed across Port Phillip. The Barwon River flows through the city to the south before entering Lake Connewarre and the Barwon River estuary at Barwon Heads before going into Bass Strait.
Geologically the oldest rocks in the area date to the Cambrian period 500 million years ago, with volcanic activity occurring in the Devonian period 350 million years ago. In prehistoric times water covered much of the lowlands that are now Geelong, with the Barwon River estuary located at Belmont Common, the course of the river being changed when Mount Moriac erupted and lava was sent eastwards towards Geelong.
To the east of the city are the Bellarine Hills and the undulating plains of the Bellarine Peninsula. To the west are the sandstone derived Barrabool Hills and basalt Mount Duneed, and the volcanic plains to the north of Geelong extend to the Brisbane Ranges and the You Yangs. Soils vary from sandy loam, basalt plains and river loam to rich volcanic soils, suitable for intensive farming, grazing, forestry and vineyard plantation.
Many materials used to construct buildings were quarried from Geelong, such as bluestone from the You Yangs and sandstone from the Brisbane Ranges. A small number of brown coal deposits exist in the Geelong region, most notably at Anglesea where it has mined to fuel Alcoa's Anglesea Power Station since 1969. Limestone has also quarried for cement production at Fyansford since 1888, and Waurn Ponds since 1964.
Development in Geelong started on the shores of Corio Bay in what is now the inner city. Development later spread to the south towards the Barwon River, and the hill of Newtown and Geelong West. Major development south of the river in Belmont did not start until the 1920s, stimulated by the construction of a new bridge over the river in 1926, and the extension of the Geelong tramway system in 1927. Industrial areas were traditionally located on the Corio Bay for port access, or the Barwon River for waste disposal.
In the interwar and post World War II years heavy industry continued to establish itself in the flatter northern suburbs, where today industries such as the Shell oil refinery and Ford Motor Company engine plant reside. Residential development also spread to Corio in the north, with new Housing Commission of Victoria estates built to cater for employees of the new industries. From the 1960s residential growth spread to the Highton hills in the south, followed by Grovedale in the 1970s. A number of light industrial areas were also established in Breakwater, Moolap and South Geelong.
Changing cargo handing methods at the Port of Geelong left woolstores in inner Geelong unused, redevelopment beginning in the 1980s with the expansion of Westfield Geelong towards Corio Bay, and culminating in the Waterfront Geelong development. Gentrification of former working class inner suburbs such as Geelong West, North Geelong and South Geelong has also occurred. Today the major residential growth corridors are north towards Lara, east towards Leopold, and south towards Mount Duneed.
|Notes: Temperatures are in degrees Celsius. Precipitation is in millimetres. Geelong SEC Latitude: 38.12S Longitude: 144.37E Elevation: 17 m ASL|
Geelong has a number of shopping precincts in the CBD and surrounding suburbs. The two main shopping centres are located in the CBD - Westfield Geelong and Market Square, with smaller centres in the suburbs including Belmont Plaza and Waurn Ponds Shopping Centre in the south, Bellarine Village in Newcomb in the east, and Corio Village Shopping Centre in the north. The opening of the major shopping centres have seen a decline in strip shopping on Moorabool Street, with many empty shops and few customers.
Located in Geelong are major research laboratories, the CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Moolap, CSIRO Division of Textiles and Fibres Technology in Belmont and the Marine and Freshwater Resources Institute at Queenscliff.
|Population over time|
As of the 2006 Census, there were 160,000 people residing in 68,000 households. The median age of persons in Geelong was 37 years. 19.4% of the population of Geelong were children aged between 0-14 years, and 26.6% were persons aged 55 years and over. Each dwelling is on average occupied by 2.59 persons, slightly lower than the state and national averages. The median household income was $901 per week, $121 less than the state average, partly due to higher reliance on manufacturing for employment. The population of Geelong is growing by 2000 people each year, and the City of Greater Geelong had the highest rate of building activity in Victoria outside metropolitan Melbourne.
78.4% of Geelong residents are Australian born, with the most common overseas birthplaces being: England (3.6%), Italy (1.1%), Croatia (1.0%), Netherlands (0.9%), Scotland (0.8%). 14.2% of households speak a language other than English in the home. Notable ethnic groups in the city are the Croatian community, who first came to the city in the 1850s and with migration since World War II are now the largest Croatian community in Australia, and the German settlers who founded Germantown (now Grovedale) in 1849 to escape repression in Prussia for their Lutheran faith.
The 2006 Census found the most common religious affiliations in Geelong were Catholicism at 29.4%, No Religion 20.5%, Anglican 14.6%, Uniting Church 7.9% and Presbyterian and Reformed at 4.3%. The city has a large number of traditional Christian churches, as well as Orthodox Christian churches in the northern suburbs.
In federal politics, Geelong is located in two House of Representatives divisions - the Division of Corio to the north of the Barwon River, and the Division of Corangamite to the south. The Division of Corio has been a safe Australian Labor Party since the 1970s, and was the seat of Richard Casey, a leading Cabinet member in the 1930s and later Governor-General, and Gordon Scholes, who was Speaker during the Whitlam government. The Division of Corangamite had been a safe seat for the Liberal Party since the 1940s, and was the seat of the ninth Prime Minister of Australia James Scullin. It was reclaimed by the Australian Labor Party for the first time since 1931 at the 2007 federal election.
Geelong is home to a number of pubs, nightclubs and live music venues and has also given birth to a number of notable Australian bands and musicians such as Barry Crocker, Gyan Evans, Magic Dirt, Jeff Lang, and Denis Walter. Geelong also hosts festivals such as the Queenscliff Music Festival, Meredith Music Festival, the Offshore Festival and Poppykettle Festival, and has a number of cultural venues, including the Geelong Performing Arts Centre (commonly known as GPAC), the 1500 seat Costa Hall auditorium, and the Geelong Art Gallery.
Geelong receives free to air television broadcasts from Melbourne, including community channel Channel 31. The Geelong region also receives cable and satellite television service through Pay-TV operators Foxtel & Neighbourhood Cable.
Local radio stations are 3GL (ethnic service), K-Rock (FM), Rhema FM (Christian community station), Hot Country, The Pulse (community radio service), Vision Australia Radio 99.5FM (print radio), and Bay FM. Transmitters for K-Rock, The Pulse, Rhema FM & Bay FM are located at a shared transmitter site on Mt Bellarine near Drysdale.
The Geelong region attracted over 6,000,000 tourists during 2001. Major tourist attractions include the Waterfront Geelong precinct and Eastern Beach on the shores of Corio Bay, the Ford Discovery Centre and National Wool Museum in the city, and more than 30 historical buildings listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.
Geelong is served by a number of public and private schools that cater to local and overseas students. Over 40,000 primary and secondary students are enrolled in schools in Geelong, with another 27,000 students enrolled in tertiary and further education courses. The first schools in Geelong were established when the town was settled from the 1850s, among them were the elite private schools The Geelong College and Geelong Grammar School.
The Gordon Memorial Technical College opened in 1888, and is known today as the Gordon Institute of TAFE. In 1976 the Gordon Institute was divided into two parts, with academic courses becoming part of the newly formed Deakin University based at the Waurn Ponds campus. Deakin University enrolled its first students at its Waurn Ponds campus in 1977. Today the university is located on a 365 hectare site and has over 1,000 staff and over 4,000 on-campus students. The university also has a campus located on the waterfront of Corio Bay in the Geelong CBD, and from 2008 the campus at Waurn Ponds will be home to Victoria's first regional medical school.
Water storage and supply in Geelong is managed by Barwon Water, a Victorian Government owned urban water corporation. Geelong is supplied with water from three river systems: the Barwon River, the East Moorabool River and the West Moorabool River. The catchment areas are the Brisbane Ranges to Geelong's north-west, and the Otway Ranges to the south-west. The first water supplies to Geelong were from the Stony Creek reservoirs near Steiglitz, but today the West Barwon Reservoir system supplies approximately 70 per cent of the water for Geelong. Sewage from Geelong and district is treated at the Black Rock Treatment Plant at Breamlea and then discharged into Bass Strait.
Geelong was first supplied with electricity in 1902 when the Geelong power station opened on the corner of Yarra and Brougham Streets. Later known as 'Geelong A', the power station was rebuilt in 1920 to increase the capacity, with the station continued operating until 1961. In 1936 Geelong was connected to the state electrical grid. The 'Geelong B' power station at North Geelong opened in 1954, and was closed in 1970 due to the much higher efficiency of the power stations in the Latrobe Valley. The supply of piped coal gas in Geelong started in 1860 by the Geelong Gas Company. The gasworks were located in North Geelong next to the North Geelong railway station. Geelong was converted to natural gas in 1971, with the Geelong Gas Company being taken over by the Gas and Fuel Corporation of Victoria on June 30 1971.
Geelong is well-connected by roads to all of south-west Victoria, to Melbourne by the Princes Freeway (M1), to Warrnambool by the Princes Highway (A1), the Bellarine Peninsula by the Bellarine Highway (B110), Ballarat by the Midland Highway (A300), and to Hamilton by the Hamilton Highway (B140). The $380 million Geelong Ring Road is under construction to bypass the greater Geelong metropolitan area, leaving the Princes Highway near Corio and rejoin the highway at Waurn Ponds. Construction began in 2006.
The city is also located at the junction of railway lines to Melbourne, Warrnambool, Ballarat, and Adelaide. V/Line operates from seven railway stations on the Geelong line, running hourly services to Melbourne, as well as services on the Warrnambool line further west three times daily. Great Southern Railway's The Overland service between Melbourne and Adelaide also calls at North Shore three times per week. Freight trains also operate from Melbourne to Geelong serving local industries, as well as to Warrnambool and other western Victorian towns. The main Melbourne-Adelaide standard gauge line sees heavy use carrying interstate freight.
Public transport is provided by local bus routes covering the city centre and most surrounding suburbs. They are operated under the umbrella of the Geelong Transit System, and are contracted to Benders Busways and McHarry's Buslines. Another government transport initiative, Bellarine Transit, is contracted to McHarry's Buslines and provides interurban services between Geelong and the towns of Torquay, Barwon Heads, Ocean Grove and the Bellarine Peninsula. V/Line services link Geelong with Ballarat, Daylesford, Bendigo, Apollo Bay, the Great Ocean Road, the Twelve Apostles and Warrnambool.
The Port of Geelong is located on the shores of Corio Bay, and is the sixth largest seaport in Australia by tonnage. Major commodities include crude oil and petroleum products, export grain and woodchips, alumina imports, and fertiliser. The Bellarine Peninsula has been linked to the Mornington Peninsula since 1987 by the Searoad ferry, which runs every hour using two roll-on/roll-off ferries.
Avalon Airport is located approximately 15 kilometres to the north-east of the city of Geelong. It was established in 1953 to cater for the production of military aircraft. It was also used for the repair of commercial aircraft, and for pilot training. Avalon Airport has also been home to low cost airline Jetstar Airways since 2004. Flights to Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Perth use the airport.
Geelong is home to the Geelong Football Club Australian Football League team, the second oldest AFL club and one of the oldest in the world. For many years it was the only VFL/AFL club to exist outside of the greater Melbourne metropolitan area. It continues to participate in the national competition, based out of the Kardinia Park stadium and Telstra Dome in Melbourne, and also fields a reserves side in the Victorian Football League. The club won the 2007 grand final against Port Adelaide by 119 points, the biggest grand final winning margin in history and the first Geelong premiership victory for 44 years. There are also three football leagues running in the area, including the Geelong Football League, the Bellarine Football League and the Geelong & District Football League.
The annual Geelong Cup thoroughbred horse race was first run in 1872, and is considered one of the most reliable guides to the result of the Melbourne Cup. The Arena stadium in North Geelong is the home of the Geelong Supercats basketball team, and was also used during the 2006 Commonwealth Games for basketball matches. The Eastern Beach foreshore and nearby Eastern Gardens regularly host internationally televised triathlons, and annual sports car and racing car events such as the Geelong Speed Trials. Corio Bay is also host to many sailing and yachting events. Geelong also has many golf courses, sporting and recreation ovals and playing fields, as well as facilities for water skiing, rowing, fishing, hiking, and greyhound and harness racing.