In the late 1990s local council amalgamations formed what is now the City of Greater Geelong. It was created from the former Bellarine Rural City Council, Corio Shire Council, Geelong City Council, Geelong West City Council, Newtown City Council and South Barwon City Council. Working in these councils not only involved everyday municipal business but also a lot of celebrations and many openings.
For that a mayor or councillor needed everything from chains and hats and to shovels and robes. There was also a lot of hard work and industry that created this thriving and vibrant city region. The collection encompasses municipal business and memorabilia along with the major maritime and wool industries that led to the city’s prominence.
Painted black enamel metal chest, thought to be the original lock box used by William Weire, the first Town Clerk of Geelong. It was used to store important documents such as early leases and agreements.
The SS Edina was one of the longest running steam vessels anywhere in the world. Built in 1853, it was used in the Mediterranean during the Crimean War, carried cotton for the Confederate states during the American Civil War and ended its days on Port Phillip Bay, over a century later, making the trip between Geelong and Melbourne. It was only recently relocated during the work for the Our Heritage, Our Collection project.
Tricorn ornately styled and finished in black velvet with woven details and ostrich feathers. Formal clothing was regular practice by mayor and councillors for many events throughout the municipality. Such formalities continued for over a century.
Ornate timber ceremonial chair featuring a carving of the Geelong coat of arms c1860. Until recently the chair was in the foyer of City Hall, it is now held in safe keeping at the Geelong Heritage Centre.
This story details the life of Uncle David Tournier and growing up on the edges of Geelong in the 1960s. A Wadawurrung elder, Tournier made a significant contribution to the Geelong community. Film by Malcolm McKinnon.
This album was compiled from 1872 to 1896 by John Raddenberry, the second curator of the Geelong Botanic Gardens. This 235-page volume contains an impressive collection of pressed fern (botanical) specimens from across the world. Raddenberry was heavily involved in the emerging horticulture scene in Victoria and the book is symbolic of this new pastime and the fern craze that gripped the State. Photos courtesy of Geelong Heritage Centre.
These robes are thought to be the original ones purchased by Geelong Town Mayor Robert de Bruce Johnstone as he was preparing to receive Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, during his visit to Geelong in 1867. Formal dress by the mayor was regular practice for nearly a century.
This trowel was presented to the Corporation of Geelong by Joseph Reed architect and Builders William Allen &William Cakebread on the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone of Geelong Town Hall on 9 April 1855. It was presented to William Kingston Baylie, Mayor of Geelong.
Originally constructed in 1855, based on plans by architect Joseph Reed, the building remained with only a single southern wing until the turn of the century. In 1914 a referendum was held to decide whether to move town hall to another site on Moorabool Street (the former Geelong Grammar site). This was defeated. By 1917 the eastern and northern wings of the building were completed. This image was taken soon after the completion of the building.
The Geelong Harbour Trust leased the Western Beach sites to various boat-building and servicing companies, such as Higgs Brothers, Charlie Blunt’s Boatbuilders and Barrow’s Boatyard. Slipways were installed to winch boats up from the water for maintenance and repair works. The fishing boats currently on the winches were built by master shipwrights at Western Beach. Many boats were crafted in the area from the 1920’s as Western Beach became Geelong’s chief maritime focus.
This Gin Still showcases the large distilling history within Geelong. Geelong once housed the largest whisky distillery in the southern hemisphere, The Corio Distillery. Built in 1928 and closed in 1989, the venture cost Scottish and Australian firms £200,000 (about $15 million at today’s prices) to pipe water from the Upper Barwon river to the distillery site. Today Geelong still produces a large amount of spirits.