Geelong, Victoria, Australia, past and present

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St Helen’s Beach, Geelong, looking out over Corio Bay

NOW: I live in a lovely city called Geelong.  Geelong has a long history of different industries which have shaped her. Starting with the wool trade, Geelong went from strength to strength, becoming the 2nd largest city in Victoria.

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North Shore beach, Geelong, looking out over Corio Bay

THEN: In 1838 Geelong was proclaimed a town. In 1838 Geelong was developing as a Victorian Port. The piers and jetties in Geelong became an important part of the growing wool trade and established Geelong as a major player in the wool industry. The end result of the wool trade is that Geelong has been left with some beautiful heritage listed buildings. You can see some of the original structures still standing, with the shell of the building remaining, while the inside of the building has been gutted and remade into a shopping centre or a university, to name a few of the changes that have occurred.

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St Mary’s Basilica Church, Geelong

NOW: One of Geelong’s most important industries now is tourism. Geelong had to evolve and look for other ways to earn a living once the wool industry declined. Now that tourism is a major drawcard for Geelong, you can dine in fine restaurants, stay in five star accomodation, and visit some wonderful tourism spots. We have The Great Ocean Road, the Geelong Waterfront, the Wool Museum and many other wonderful places to visit. There are art galleries, restaurants and cafes, fine dining at hotels, refurbished hotels, parks and playgrounds, and lovely coastal beaches.

THEN: Before tourism and hospitality became important to Geelong, wool was the major trade, with wool being carted into Geelong on horse and cart, and eventually being shipped out from the various wharves.  Cities in Victoria, like Ballarat and Bendigo, were riding on the wave of gold, gold fields, gold discoveries and the influx of people coming to the gold fields to make their fortune.

Geelong is said to have been built on the back of the golden fleece – wool. For a small developing city, wool was what made Geelong and decided her identity. The buildings which remain from the wool era show the wealth of the wool growing industry, and have created the city’s identity.

During the early days of Geelong’s history, while Geelong was still a part of the colony, her major trade was wool. Geelong was close to the farm lands of the western district. Having a good port close to the farms helped to establish the wool industry.

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Osborne House, North Geelong

Geelong’s entire waterfront was a wool mecca in the early 1900s, with huge wool stores lining the foreshore. The wool was delivered to the wool stores and held there, waiting for ships to arrive at Cunningham Pier or Yarra Street Pier. It was a thriving, busy place with horses and carts moving wool around, and ships being loaded with wool.

NOW: Nowadays the world has access to new types of synthetic materials, so there is not so much reliance on wool. Acrylic skeins of wool can be purchased much more cheaply than a skein of pure wool, so unless you are a dyed in the wool knitter, you would probably go for the cheaper version of acrylic rather than pure wool for your knitting projects.

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Steampacket Garden, lawn expanse, Geelong Waterfront

When you walk around Geelong now, you can still see traces of the history of the great wool trade. The woollen mills around the city are gone. Cunningham Pier has become a tourist and fishing spot. It was the major pier for Geelong, with cargo ships sailing in and out. Now there are restaurants and car parking on the pier. You can still see the railway lines from the early days of trade. Some of the huge stores are still standing, their buildings reused.

Deakin University Waterfront Campus was once a woolstore. If you walk around inside the building you can see the old structure, with magnificent wooden beams and the original brickwork still standing. The Westfield Shopping Complex was built inside an old wool store, and although a lot of the original structure is not visible inside the complex, the outside facade is still there.

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Some Bollards, Geelong Waterfront

The Wool Museum, which is a wonderful place to visit, and which will feature in one of my articles, is built inside one of the old wool stores. It is housed inside a bluestone building which dates back to 1872. On the corner of Brougham Street and Moorabool Street, the Wool Museum has so much history inside its walls. It really is a good starting point if you want to learn a bit about Geelong’s wool history.

I recently visited the Wool Museum myself and I was fascinated by the displays and exhibitions at the Wool Museum. But there is another article in that story.

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North Shore Beach, Moonlight, Swans, Geelong

There is a lot to do in Geelong. I am totally biased as I live in Geelong, however I love this city and I enjoy telling people about the place. There is always so much on offer. If you enjoy history, then you can learn a lot about Geelong through the museums. If you like to dine out, or dine in, there are many restaurants and cafes and hotels for dining experiences. If you have young children there are many playgrounds and parks to visit.

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The Carousel, Geelong Waterfront

Along the Geelong Waterfront you can take a long walk along the walking paths, check out the Bollards, have a ride on The Carousel, or walk to Eastern Beach and have a dip in the pools, or sit in the shade and have a picnic, or take a ride on the Ferris Wheel. This is the Geelong Waterfront in brief. You could spend a whole day at the Geelong Waterfront. It is usually a great place to meet friends for a lunch date.

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Ocean Grove front Beach, Geelong

Locals and visitors flock to the Geelong Waterfront, especially during the weekends. The walking tracks lead from one side of the city (and Corio Bay) to the other. You can park and walk from anywhere along the waterfront. The walking track leads from St Helen’s beach, North Geelong to Eastern Beach and Eastern Park. The city and the waterfront face Corio Bay, the bay that is in front of the city of Geelong.

For a great holiday destination, Geelong is the place to come and play. Stay in Geelong or head to the beaches for swimming, fishing, picnics and barbecues. We do have some beautiful beaches. Here is a photo of the sunset at Ocean Grove.

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Sunset at Ocean Grove beach

Continuing the walking tracks dialogue, if you parked at St Helen’s beach and took a walk along the walking tracks towards the Geelong Waterfront, you would meet some lovely characters in The Bollards. The Bollards trace the history of Geelong, with old bollards redesigned to portray famous people from the history of Geelong. They depict the old bathing houses, the old style beach wear and almost every bollard has a rabbit or two on the bollard. Geelong also has an infamous link to the history of the rabbit.

The walking track meanders along the waterfront from St Helen’s beach, past Rippleside beach towards the central Waterfront. As you walk along, you’ll walk along Western Beach frontage. There are small piers jutting out in to the water and you will usually see a few people fishing off the piers. The walk continues past playgrounds, the youth skate park, Cunningham Pier and on towards The Carousel.

There is the Poppy Kettle playground, Transvaal Square, Steampacket Garden, towards Eastern Beach. Steampacket Garden is a lovely expanse of lawn that is the locality of craft markets and car shows. There is a Thomas the tank train (small scale and doesn’t run on rails) which tours the walking tracks, from The Carousel to Eastern Beach (for a small price).

There really is a lot to see and do on the Geelong Waterfront. It is a good place to meet with your friends, to hold a family gathering, to play tourist, to take in the sights and scenery, and to get to know Geelong. Dine at The Wharf Shed, le Parisien, Fisherman’s Pier, the Kiosk at Eastern Beach, or try the seafood straight from the Mussel Boat.

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Geelong Playspace, Eastern Park

There are numerous playgrounds along the way. There is a playground at St Helens beach, at Rippleside, beside Cunningham Pier, at Eastern Beach and at Eastern Park. There are also lots of toilet blocks, which is important if you have young children with you. They always want to go to the toilet.

If you live on a budget, like I do, you can visit Geelong Waterfront and still have a cheap day out. You don’t always have to dine in luxury. I watch every cent that I earn and I do live frugally, not cheaply. Young children like to play, and Geelong has plenty of playgrounds for the little ones, and also for the bigger children.

I sometimes take my granddaugher out for the day. We pack water bottles, sunscreen and hats, and jackets, because Geelong weather can be unpredictable. We can walk along the waterfront, she can play at the playgrounds and we have our own drinks. I don’t buy food along the waterfront, unless I am out with friends, as it is pricey. Don’t let that stop you if you are foodie and want to try out all the different restaurants. Foodies will pay for quality food! I like quality food, however when you live on a tight budget it makes sense to dine out on special occasions and then live cheaply at other times.

When my granddaughter and I head out we will walk and play, then usualy end up at Maccas. I am not a fan of Maccas, however their meals are affordable and their restaurants and toilets are clean.

When you take your family out, you can pack a picnic or barbecue food, a picnic blanket, sunscreen, hats, and a picnic basket and dine out in style on the hills and lawns along the waterfront, with spectacular views of Corio Bay. There are lots of picnic spots and the barbecues dotted along the watefront are free to use.

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Cunningham Pier, Geelong Waterfront

THEN: To get to the beautiful Waterfront we see today, the Waterfront went through many changes. I remember going to Eastern Beach for a swim when we were teenagers. The Waterfront didn’t have much to offer in those days. Now it has become a great, lovely, attractive place to visit.

NOW: I realise, as I re-read my writing, that there are a few articles here to be written. This is a really brief introduction to my home town. It is a lovely city, the 2nd largest city in Victoria. It is still not too big, however it is growing, with lots of new housing estates being established. Geelong is close to the beaches, there are lots of wineries, some becoming well known in Australia and oversees. There are a lot of touristy places to visit and the natural wonders of the beaches and The Great Ocean Road scenery beckon. Please come and see Geelong if you head to Australia from overseas. It really is worth the visit and I will be your personal tour guide if you let me know you are coming.

I originally started to write this blog for one of my new friends on Word Press. He told me he likes my work and my photos however there isn’t enough information in my writing yet to let him know where I live. So Glenn here is a start to sharing my home town with you. This is a really brief summary of the town where I live, and of my country. There will be more blogs to follow soon. Enjoy!

A quick few words about Australia. It is a country, and a continent. Australia is surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans. The major cities are Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra (our capital city), Hobart, Darwin and Geelong of course!

Australia is famous for (or well known for) the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Uluru (or Ayers Rock), the Great Ocean Road and the vast outback (large interior desert wilderness). Australia also has many animals that are unique to Australia – the platypus, koala, kangaroo, wombat and dingo.

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Image courtesy of Google Maps

 

 

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11 thoughts on “Geelong, Victoria, Australia, past and present

      1. Hi Camerapen, you are very kind and clearly passionate about Geelong. I just look back with nostalgia and, if I am realistic, I am unlikely to visit again anytime soon. The person I was 40 years ago seems totally unrelated to me now. I guess there have been too many discontinuities in my life, and it’s all brought up by seeing your pictures of Geelong. They say a picture speaks a thousand words, but those words are so unimaginably different for each of us. Have a great weekend ahead.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Glenn. Thanks for your comment. You inspired me to share some of my beautiful home town with you. I have many more blogs to come about the town of Geelong. Ask any questions. I will try to answer them.

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    1. Australia is a beautiful country. Geelong is a great holiday destination and also a great place to live. There is a lot of work opportunties and travel to the city of Melbourne is only about 50 minutes by train if you love shopping.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. someone has actually been kind of convincing me to just leave out other options and just focus on moving to Australia for work and for good. Lately I have been seeing lots of travel shows on Australia and I am starting to think the universe is trying to tell me something *wink*

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I have also been searching about the different places in Australia and the beautiful places and landmarks and places to eat… I’m sorry I’m kind of babbling but all of it just sounds so exciting to me! I still have to find a way on how I could find a job as a nurse in Australia but I know it will come with hard work. I hope you can tell me more about your country and the opportunities you say. I am so happy too about how your blog is coming along…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Meyan. Are you trained as a nurse? There is so much work here for nurses. I am not sure how you would go with your qualifications fitting with Australian Qualifications. So the universe is trying to tell you something. Come on down to Australia and I will throw another prawn on the barbie for you. When you come to Australia we will have to catch up. If you need any help when you get here I will be your tour guide, friend and help in any way that I can.

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  3. Hey there, firstly thankyou for dropping by my blog, that is what brought me here. 🙂
    Australia, I am mad about Australia.
    And there are so many reasons for it. !!!!!
    I actually want to pursue my medicine education in the sydney or the melbourne university, I love this place alot, and from what I know people here are amazing and crazy good.
    Nice meeting you 🙂
    Can you tell me more about Australia ? PLease.
    Thankyou.

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