History & heritage
Modern Geelong is a story of old and new. Wander through revitalised urban areas, where grand old eighteenth and nineteenth century buildings now house galleries and craft breweries, hole-in-the-wall cafes and vintage markets. Enjoy a stroll along the popular waterfront development with its restored deco swimming enclosure at Eastern Beach and take the kids on a ride on the wooden carousel.
Visit cultural centres, museums and heritage homes to get an understanding the region's rich history. Learn how the city was transformed from the hunting and gathering territory of the Indigenous Wathaurong people into a 20th century industrial powerhouse, and then reshaped again into a bustling coastal city at the centre of a burgeoning food and wine region.
Indigenous past and present
See the influence of the Wathaurong people in the names of places and streets in the region. Moorabool, Gheringhap and Moolap and are all derivatives of Indigenous language. The Wathaurong lived in the Geelong and Bellarine region long before European settlement and made use of the natural environment – grasslands, wetlands and coastal areas – for hunting and fishing.
Influx of industry
With European settlement in the 1800s came an emphasis on sheep farming and wool production – to the extent that Geelong was known for many years as the 'wool centre of the world'. Wool stores cropped up along the waterfront and the port was alive with cargo ships moving this high-demand product.
Geelong's manufacturing dominance continued well into the 20th century, when car maker Ford opened a plant there.
Step into beautifully preserved and maintained heritage homes and buildings in Geelong and Queenscliff for an insight into the pioneer experience. Take a stroll from busy Queenscliff Harbour to the town centre to see imposing Victorian-era hotels, solid old churches and quaint fishermen's cottages.