10 interesting facts about Central Geelong’s history you probably didn’t know.

  1. Next time you’re out the front of the carousel look down. There are paving splats splattered around the Waterfront as pavement inlays. These inlays hold items depicting imported and locally made objects that would have turned up on the counter of our Customs House.
  2. Eastern Beach Art Deco Bathing Complex was constructed between 1928 and 1939.
  3. Customs Park Cargo Boxes are a series of brass and glass boxes containing sculptures and artefacts recognised to be early imports into Geelong. Each box features the name of the vessel which carried the goods and the dates the vessel operated.
  4. The Barcode Fountain located along side Sailors Rest incorporates a barcode from a Geelong iconic product: Noddy’s Soft Drink. The barcode is reproduced on the stainless steel panels of the feature.
  5. Each and every Baywalk Bollard tells a story of the person or events associated with Geelong’s history. There are 111 scattered along the Waterfront. Rabbits can be found on a number of them. Why? Because in 1859 Thomas Austinreleased 24 rabbits into the wild on his property 'Barwon Park' at Winchelsea just outside of Geelong on Christmas Day, introducing the rabbit to Australia.
  6. The National Wool Museum is housed in a bluestone wool store built in 1872.
  7. Johnstone Park was once a swamp, then a dam. The area was transformed into a park in 1872, the idea of Mayor Robert de Bruce Johnstone.
  8. Geelong Gallery was established in 1896. The Gallery has amassed a magnificent collection of 19th and 20th century Australian and European paintings, decorative arts and sculpture.
  9. The Old Geelong Post Office located on the corner of Gheringhap and Ryrie Streets held the first automatic telephone exchange in Australia in 1912.
  10. Next door to the Old Geelong Post Office is the Telegraph Station built in 1854. The time ball sitting on top of the building was used to relay the time to citizens and shipmasters. The ball would be released at 1pm daily (except Sundays).

Love your history? For almost thirty years historians, students, consultants, councillors, teachers and genealogists have been researching local history at the Geelong Heritage Centre and it’s all available for you to peruse. See for yourself at the new Geelong Library and Heritage Centre located at 51 Little Malop Street.