What You Need To Know about Geelong

Geelong is a port city located on Corio Bay and the Barwon River, in the state of Victoria, Australia, 75 kilometers (47 mi) south-west of the state capital, Melbourne. It is the second largest Victorian city, with an estimated urban population of 192,393 as at June 2016, having grown 2.1 percent since June 2015.

Geelong runs from the plains of Lara in the north to the rolling hills of Waurn Ponds to the south, with Corio Bay to the east and hills to the west. Geelong is the administrative centre for the City of Greater Geelong municipality, which covers urban, rural and coastal areas surrounding the city, including the Bellarine Peninsula.

Geelong City is also known as the ‘Gateway City’ due to its central location to surrounding Victorian regional centres like Ballarat in the north-west, Torquay, Great Ocean Road and Warrnambool in the southwest, Hamilton, Colac, and Winchelsea to the west, and the state capital of Melbourne in the north east.

Geelong was named in 1827, with the name derived from the local Wathaurong Aboriginal name for the region, Djillong, thought to mean “land” or “cliffs”. The area was first surveyed in 1838, three weeks after Melbourne. The post office was open by June 1840 (the second to open in the Port Phillip District). The first woolstore was erected in this period and it became the port for the wool industry of the Western District. During the gold rush, Geelong experienced a brief boom as the main port to the rich goldfields of the Ballarat district. The city then diversified into manufacturing, and during the 1860s, it became one of the largest manufacturing centres in Australia with its wool mills, ropeworks, and paper mills.

It was proclaimed a city in 1910, with industrial growth from this time until the 1960s establishing the city as a manufacturing centre for the state, and the population grew to over 100,000 by the mid-1960s. During the city’s early years, an inhabitant of Geelong was often known as a Geelongite, or a Pivotonian, derived from the city’s nickname of “The Pivot”, referencing the city’s role as a shipping and rail hub for the area. Population increases over the last decade were due to growth in service industries, as the manufacturing sector has declined. Redevelopment of the inner city has occurred since the 1990s, as well as gentrification of inner suburbs, and currently has a population growth rate higher than the national average.

It is known for being home to the Geelong Football Club, the second oldest club in the Australian Football League.

Today, Geelong stands as an emerging health, education and advanced manufacturing hub. The city’s economy is shifting quickly and despite experiencing the drawbacks of losing much of its heavy manufacturing, it is seeing much growth in other sectors, positioning itself as one of the leading non-capital Australian cities.

Population: 192,393 (2016)

Area: 918.79 km2 (354.7 sq mi)



Geelong is located on the shores of Corio Bay, a south-western inlet bay of Port Phillip. During clear weather, the Melbourne skyline is visible from areas of Geelong when viewed across Port Phillip. The Barwon River flows through the city to the south before entering Lake Connewarre and the Barwon River estuary at Barwon Heads before going into Bass Strait.

Geologically, the oldest rocks in the area date back to the Cambrian period 500 million years ago, with volcanic activity occurring in the Devonian period 350 million years ago. In prehistoric times water covered much of the lowlands that are now Geelong, with the Barwon River estuary located at Belmont Common, the course of the river being changed when Mount Moriac erupted and lava was sent eastwards towards Geelong.

To the east of the city are the Bellarine Hills and the undulating plains of the Bellarine Peninsula. To the west are the sandstone-derived Barrabool Hills and basalt Mount Duneed, and the volcanic plains to the north of Geelong extend to the Brisbane Ranges and the You Yangs. Soils vary from sandy loam, basalt plains, and river loam to rich volcanic soils, suitable for intensive farming, grazing, forestry, and viticulture.

Many materials used to construct buildings were quarried from Geelong, such as bluestone from the You Yangs and sandstone from the Brisbane Ranges. A small number of brown coal deposits exist in the Geelong region, most notably at Anglesea, where it has been mined to fuel Alcoa’s Anglesea Power Station since 1969. Limestone has also been quarried for cement production at Fyansford since 1888, and Waurn Ponds since 1964.


Geelong has stable weather, yet still offers four distinct seasons. It has a temperate oceanic climate (Cfb in the Köppen climate classification) with dominant westerly winds, variable clouds, moderate precipitation, warm summers, and mild to cool winters. February is the hottest month and July is the coldest. The highest temperature recorded was 47.4 °C (117.3 °F) on 7 February 2009 during a two-week-long heat wave, with the lowest of −4.4 °C (24.1 °F) recorded on 5 August 1997. The average annual rainfall is around 520 mm (20.5 in), which makes Geelong the driest sizeable city in Australia, owing to the pronounced rain shadow of the Otway Ranges to the southwest. Within the city, rainfall shows a strong gradient from south to north, so that the southernmost suburbs can receive around 700 mm (28 in) whilst more northerly Lara receives as little as 425 mm (17 in), which is the lowest rainfall in southern Victoria.


The major public hospital is Geelong Hospital on Ryrie Street, which services the entire region, and the largest private hospital is the nearby St John of God Health Care centre on Myers Street. Prominent healthcare services include Geelong Health (Geelong West) and Barwon Health. Also a comprehensive acute and rehabilitation not-for-profit private hospital is currently being built, adjacent to the Waurn Ponds campus of Deakin University, due to open mid-2016.


The main form of transportation in Geelong is the automobile. Geelong is well-connected by roads to all of south-west Victoria, to Melbourne by a major-arterial the Princes Freeway (M1) with three or four lanes in each direction, to Warrnambool by the Princes Highway (A1), the Bellarine Peninsula by the Bellarine Highway (B110), Ballarat by the Midland Highway (A300), and to Hamilton by the Hamilton Highway (B140). The $380-million Geelong Ring Road (an extension of the Princes Freeway) bypasses the greater Geelong urban area exiting the Princes Highway near Corio to rejoin the highway at Waurn Ponds. The “Lewis Bandt Bridge”, named in honour of the Ford Australia engineer who is credited as the inventor of the ute (1934), in Geelong is a feature of the new road.

Avalon Airport

Avalon Airport is located about 15 km (9.3 mi) to the north-east of the city of Geelong. It was established in 1953 for the production of military aircraft. It was also used for the repair of commercial aircraft, and for pilot training. Avalon Airport has also been home to low-cost airline Jetstar Airways since 2004. Flights to Sydney use the airport and in June 2015, Jetstar announced it would fly to the Gold Coast daily from Avalon Airport commencing October 2015. Avalon Airport is the venue for ‘Thunder Down Under’ Australian International Airshow every other year.


Geelong is a major hub for rail transport in Victoria, having frequent services to and from Melbourne, and being at the junction of the Geelong line, Warrnambool V/Line rail service, Western standard gauge line, and the Geelong-Ballarat railway line. Eight passenger railway stations are in the urban area, all along the Warrnambool line and served by V/Line trains.The Geelong line provides passenger services to Melbourne in the off-peak with trains departing Geelong every 20 minutes on weekdays, with more frequent services at peak times. According to V/Line, the Geelong line carries more passengers than any other regional rail line in Australia. None of the lines are electrified and all trains servicing Geelong are diesel powered.

Geelong’s currently operating stations include Little River, Lara, Corio, North Shore, North Geelong, Geelong, South Geelong, Marshall and Waurn Ponds.

A rail line use to connect Geelong city to the Bellarine Peninsula through to Queenscliff, though it ceased to operate in 1976. A section still remains active, the Bellarine Railway operates as a tourist attraction between Drysdale and Queenscliff.

A freight-only line operates between Geelong and Ballarat, this line use to also service passengers. Plans to have the line re-opened to passenger services are unknown.

A rumoured line to operate between Geelong to Torquay via the Armstrong creek-Mt Duneed Growth Area are currently in the works.

Passenger services run to Warrnambool three times daily, connecting Geelong with Colac, Terang, and Camperdown, as well as Warrnambool. Great Southern Rail’s The Overland service between Melbourne and Adelaide stops at the standard-gauge platform provided at North Shore station. It runs six days a week, with three services to Adelaide and three to Melbourne. Freight trains also operate from Melbourne to Geelong serving local industries, as well as to Warrnambool and other western Victorian towns. The main Melbourne-Adelaide standard-gauge line is a heavily used interstate freight route.

Victoria’s electronic ticketing system, Myki, was implemented on rail services between Marshall and Melbourne on 29 July 2013.

The Victorian government is currently in process of land acquisition and inspection for a potential Torquay rail line which would service both Torquay and the Armstrong Creek growth corridor.