Designing Geelong

Design has shaped, and is shaped by, Geelong.

James Harrison, Lewis Bandt and other early inventors

James Harrison, an early pioneer of the Geelong region, invented refrigeration as we know it in the 1850s. One of his first commissions was to refrigerate a local brewery. Other local inventors were also design pioneers; WJ Thomas of Geelong conducted telephony experiments in 1877 with home-made equipment and Lance Hill pioneered the rotary clothesline, better known today as the ‘Hill’s Hoist’. In the mid-1920s, the Ford Motor Company established its headquarters in North Geelong, and it was there that the ‘utility coupe’ – the ‘ute‘ – was designed by Lewis Bandt in the 1930s.

Geelong Botanic Gardens

The Geelong Botanic Gardens were established in 1851 and are one of the oldest botanic gardens in Australia. The Geelong Botanic Gardens and Eastern Park have recognized heritage value and are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register as an intact example of a 19th century scientific approach to systematic planting, and for the design of parallel garden paths and beds. The Gardens underwent significant redevelopment in 2002 and now feature a 21st century garden, showcasing both arid-climate plants and complementary sculptures.

Geelong – The Wool Capital of the World

Sheep farming began in Geelong in 1835, and the first of many woollen mills was opened in 1868. For many years, the city was known as the ‘wool centre of the world’ – producing, treating, designing and exporting wool and woollen products to the world from the city’s port facilities. Geelong’s wool heritage is still seen today in the area’s architecture, with Deakin University’s Waterfront campus now occupying the former Denny’s Lascelles woolstores, and the Federal Woollen Mills now transformed into a business hub.

Wool museum

Stuart Devlin designs Australian decimal currency

In the mid-1960s, Geelong-born Stuart Devlin, a sculptor and silversmith, was commissioned to produce Australia’s new decimal currency coins. Devlin’s native flora and fauna-based designs have remained iconic ever since.

Australian 50 cent piece

Geelong Bollards

Designed by Geelong-based artist, Jan Mitchell, the Geelong Bollards have become a design icon in the region. There are more than 100 painted bollards, guiding visitors along the Geelong Bollard Trail Walk from Rippleside Park, through Waterfront Geelong to Limeburners Point and the Botanic Gardens. The Bollards reflect Geelong’s unique history and include a Koori family, English explorer Matthew Flinders, bathers from the 1930s, and Ian McDonald, the city surveyor who designed the landmark sea baths.

More information on each Bollard’s location and description

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