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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.

Heritage charm

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.

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History & heritage

Geelong & the Bellarine

Heritage buildings

The Old Paper Mills at Fyansford

The Old Paper Mills at Fyansford are a hidden treasure. Here, you will be able to enjoy a rich history that dates back to the early beginnings of...

History & heritage

Bellarine Railway

The Bellarine Railway is a volunteer operated organisation offering heritage train rides and experiences between Queenscliff and Drysdale, featuring...

Maritime history

Queenscliff Harbour

Queenscliff Harbour is a destination in itself and being a working harbour there is always something to see and do. The 250 berth marina is home to...

History & heritage

Queenscliffe Historical Museum

The Queenscliffe Historical Museum is situated in Hesse Street between the post office and library, in the township of Queenscliff. Opened in 1974,...

History & heritage

Old Geelong Gaol

The Old Geelong Gaol and Museum has a great variety of displays that tell the history of the gaol and visitors get hands on experience of the harsh...

Heritage buildings

The Heights House and Garden

The Heights Heritage House and Garden dates back to the 1850s. The house was built in 1855 and is remarkable for being the largest (14 rooms) German,...

Heritage buildings

Little River Mechanics Institute and Free Library

The Mechanics Institute opened in 1910 and continues to provide education, recreation and a focal point for community activities and events for...

Maritime history

Fort Queenscliff Museum

The ultimate objective of the Fort Queenscliff Museum is a fully restored Fort and the development of a museum, which will allow visitors to tour the...


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History & heritage

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