Autumn Outings – Geelong and Bellarine Peninsula Pt 1

As mentioned in Manic Mondays a few weeks ago, we recently had the pleasure of spending a few days down on the Geelong, Bellarine Peninsula. The weather was mostly kind, although a little windy, skies were at times threatening, but we saw no rain! I can live with a little wind and stormy skies, but once you get wet, it’s miserable!

A Brief History

Originally inhabited by the Wathaurong People and they called the bay “Jillong” and the surrounding land “Corayo”. The name Jillong has a meaning similar to “a place of the sea bird over the white cliffs”. Somehow it got all mixed up and now call the land Geelong and the bay Corio. The Wathaurong People left a lasting legacy, with many of the regions place names are versions of Wathaurong words, including Moorabool, Gheringhap, Malop, Moolap, Corio, Geelong, Barwon, You Yangs, Bellarine, Colac, Beeac and Birregurra (Read more here).

First discovered by the English [on record anyway] in 1802 by Lt. John Murray, who commanded the HMS Lady Nelson. After sending a small boat with six men to explore, the Lady Nelson entered Port Phillip on 1 February, and did not leave until 12 March. During this time, Murray explored the Geelong area and, claimed the entire area for Britain. He named the bay Port King, after Philip Gidley King, then Governor of New South Wales. Governor King later renamed the bay Port Phillip after the first governor of New South Wales, Arthur Phillip. Matthew Flinders, sailed into Corio Bay on the 27 April 1802, He charted the entire bay, including the Geelong area.

In January 1803, Surveyor-General Charles Grimes aboard the Cumberland sailed into the bay and mapped the area. One of the earliest reported deaths of an Aboriginal person by Europeans occurred in October of 1803 when the First Lieutenant JH Tuckey and his party camped in the area around North Shore. In October the HMS Calcutta led by Lieutenant-Colonel David Collins arrived in the bay to establish the Sullivan Bay penal colony. Escaped convict William Buckley escaped to the area also around this time. Explorers Hamilton and Hume were the next through the region in 1824. The name Geelong was given to the town in 1837 by Governor Richard Burke and was surveyed in 1838. In its early days Geelong’s main trade was in wool. Some of the world’s best wool is grown in the Western District and region around Geelong and the city was important as a port. Much of the Geelong waterfront was surrounded by huge wool stores, some still remain today being redesigned for modern use including the Deakin University Waterfront Campus, Westfield Shopping Centre and National Wool Museum.

Woollen mills saw Geelong’s first big manufacturing industry and in 1925 it became the centre of Ford’s manufacturing facilities with a huge plant opening in North Geelong in 1926. The gold rush in the 1850′s saw a turning point for Geelong. Geelong with its wool prosperity was starting to gain a bit of ground on Melbourne.  [Read more info here].

Geelong & Rippleside Day 1

Bellarine_Peninsula_Map We actually stopped off in Batesford on our way to Geelong, I was hoping to get to Dog Rocks Fauna Reserve, I did not realize it was by appointment only, and we did not have one 😦 Next trip! But they have a lovely little old bridge next to the hotel, so I took some shots of that and then moved onto Geelong.

We spent the first day around Rippleside and Geelong Quay (Cunningham Pier), we wandered quite a long way via the boardwalks at Rippleside and investigated the waters edge, bird life and the painted bollards which are scattered all along the Geelong Foreshore; over 100 in 48 different sites.  Some of there are very quirky and all of them will put a smile on your face. Look for the ‘Rabbit’s painted on many of the bollards.

There are a few restaurants and bars along the foreshore and on Cunningham Pier. We had Fish and Chips at the King George, very nice. Don’t forget the Carousel on the Quay, we went there many years ago for a Wedding – it made for quite the unique venue (and yes, we all rode on the carousel).

Leopold to Port Arlington Day 2

The next morning we rose early and dropped in at Drysdale on our way to Port Arlington and were fortunate to see the Steam train was at the Station. I was even invited into the engine cabin for some close up photos. It was a lot of fun. Then the station was over run with excited school children for an excursion – our cue to leave.

We then made our way over to Port Arlington to start our Coastal Drive along the Peninsula, read more about our trip next post………..

– Julz