Victoria’s second largest city is no longer resting in the shadow of its capital. With a booming commercial centre, the Great Ocean Road on its doorstep and fascinating history, Geelong’s population growth is soaring. It’s the city’s innovative history of design though, that’s capturing global attention - and the surprises keep on coming.
Geelong’s Carousel precinct contains one of only 200 hand-carved wooden carousels in operation, throughout the world.
Geelong’s design history in the global spotlight
Throughout history, Geelong’s inventions and designs have been, literally, world-changing.
In 2017, Geelong was one of 64 cities inducted into the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisations Creative Cities Network. It takes its place among cities renowned for innovative design, including Dubai, Singapore, Berlin and Beijing.
Throughout history, Geelong’s inventions and designs have been, literally, world-changing. For example, the Ford Ute, designed by Lew Bandt, was born in the city in 1934, leading to today’s version of the SUV. It’s here that commercial refrigeration was pioneered, as well as that much-loved icon of Australian backyards, the Hills Hoist.
Though it’s not the first place you may think of, in terms of surfing, local Stewart Anderson revolutionised board design with the three-fin Thruster, which remains an industry standard. Grant Featherston was also born in Geelong, and the man responsible for ground-breaking furniture design, with his Contour series introduced at the Montreal World Expo in 1967.
Geelong’s iconic Waterfront Bollard Trail was just the beginning of a booming tourism industry.
Fast forward into the future
Geelong’s inclusion as a global city of design also recognised its Aboriginal heritage and significant contributions to the wool production and textiles industry. Its recent and future projects, however, are leading the way towards strong population growth and a booming construction industry.
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This includes the extensive Geelong Performing Arts Centre Redevelopment. Funded by the Victorian Government, the city is set to see increased community and creative spaces, more rehearsal areas, new dance studios and aesthetic upgrades, leading to new business and residents. The city is already known for fascinating art, culture and entertainment, with its iconic Waterfront Bollard Trail and the restored Carousel, however the new upgrades are expected to attract many more tourists.
At Deakin University, the VR Lab is a global first, whereby you can see virtual reality representations of products that aren’t yet on the market. Runway Geelong has been devised to encourage growing startups in the region, with 12 week accelerator programs and the aim to generate new jobs and enterprises.
Perhaps there’s something in the water in Geelong. Whatever it is, the city continues to make global waves with its innovative flare and everyone’s watching to see what comes next.