Greater Geelong City

Greater Geelong city, an area of 1250 sq km, was formed on 18 May 1993 from Bellarine rural city, Geelong, Geelong West, Newtown and South Barwon cities, Corio shire and parts of Barrabool and Bannockburn shires. It was the first of the Victoria-wide local government amalgamations in the early 1990s and had been an obvious candidate for many years. The extent of the amalgamation probably went further than earlier proponents would have thought.

The constituent councils were:

namearea (sq km)population 1991comments
Corio shire704.757,870Industrial; urban, rural
Bellarine rural city331.843,620Urban, rural; incl Ocean Grove
South Barwon city165.443,240Urban, rural; incl Belmont, Barwon Heads, Torquay
Geelong West city5.313,980Older urban
Geelong city13.413,300Older urban and business centre
Newtown city6.210,290Older urban

The parts of the other two councils that were put in Greater Geelong were:

Barrabool shireWandana Heights and Waurn PondsSuburban overspill from Geelong
 CeresRural village
Bannockburn shireBatesfordRural village

With its mixture of rural and urban spaces, Greater Geelong extends from rural Anakie in the north to Barwon Heads on Bass Strait. It has all of Bellarine Peninsula except Queenscliffe borough. Its eastern boundary is the Little River, next to Wyndham city. Its main western boundary is the Moorabool River which begins in the Brisbane Ranges and runs through Batesford to join the Barwon River near Geelong West.

When Greater Geelong was formed the city was recovering from the collapse of the Pyramid Building Society in 1990 with debts of $2 billion, mostly owed to local investors. Manufacturing industry, the postwar growth backbone in Geelong’s northern areas, was also flat or receding. There was one important urban asset: houses in well maintained streets at prices around two thirds of Melbourne’s. Rail and road put commuters in touch with employment in Melbourne, and the building of a 25 km ring road (2008-13) reduced travel time, at least until motorists met the banked-back traffic from the West Gate bridge.

During 2001-11 most parts of Greater Geelong have had population growth. The notable ones are:

Drysdale17244315Old town in rural surrounds
Grovedale11,38514,153Outer south-east suburb next to Marshall railway station
Lara918513,846Between Werribee and Geelong, on railway station Avalon airport to its south-east
Leopold677210,111Outer east
Lovely Banks5132218Elevated western suburb with entry/exit ramps on ring road
Marshall7281799Outer south-east, with unsubdivided land
St Albans Park37184927Outer south-east, with unsubdivided land
Waurn Ponds8023995Outer west, entry/exit ramps on ring road. Deakin University, drive-in shopping centres and lots of unsubdivided land

In central Geelong the former port area was redeveloped, beginning in 1994. The university’s waterfront campus was a leading project. An intangible boost to community confidence was the Geelong Football Club’s winning its first premiership in 44 years, defeating Port Adelaide in 2007. Two more followed in 2009 and 2011. The loss to Hawthorn in 2008 was deeply felt.

In May 2013 Ford Australia announced that it would close its Geelong factory in October 2016, involving a loss of about 510 jobs.

Census populations have been:

census datepopulation
 Greater urban GeelongGreater Geelong city

Further Reading

Norm Houghton, Geelong: 150 years of community leadership, Geelong, 1999

Bellarine rural city, Geelong, Geelong West, Newtown and South Barwon cities, Corio shire, Batesford, Ceres, Wandana Heights and Waurn Ponds entries