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Carving of Peter Lalor at Geelong's Eastern Beach
Corio Bay, Geelong
Geelong is Victoria's second largest city, an important regional centre and an important industrial port. It is a little over an hour by road or train from Melbourne (see Melbourne-Geelong and north-western coast of Port Phillip Bay). and , possibly because of the calming influence of the sheltered waters of Corio Bay, has a more relaxed feel than Melbourne. In fact Melbournians have been known to unkindly refer to it as 'Sleepy Hollow' (although see the response to this from one of newsletter subscribers). It is home to the AFL (Australian football) team 'The Cats', and the local industry is much influenced by its extensive port facilities, the Ford car factory and various refineries.

Carving of Peter Lalor at Geelong's Eastern Beach
Peter Lalor

However the focus of Geelong has to be the waterfront around Corio Bay and the recreation area known as the Eastern Beach. A collection of over 100 painted wooden sculptures in the form of bollards provides an affectionate history of Geelong and depict a number of Geelong's favourite sons and daughters including  James Harrison (the inventor of commercial refrigeration) as well as other people who played an important part in Victoria's history such as Peter Lalor and Matthew Flinders.

The waterfront also features a historic carousel manufactured in 1892. many restaurants, enclosed swimming areas, kiosks, pleasure cruises and all the other entertainments that you would expect at a major seaside resort.

Much of Peter Carey's book Illywhacker (see right) is set in Geelong in the earlier part of the 20th century. Those interested in historical mysteries may also be interested in The Mystery of The Geelong Keys.

Geelong is also the gateway to the Bellarine Peninsula and Great Ocean Road to the south.

Some places of interest in the Geelong region:

Barwon Grange
A heritage home in Geelong from the 1850s with gardens and riverside walks. White Hat can recommend a visit to this this property for two reasons. Firstly it is is only fashionable mid 19th century valuable river frontage residences built along the Barwon River which remains intact. Secondly, while most homes change and evolve over time, it has been decided to maintain this property as a time capsule of 1855-6 which again makes it unusual among heritage homes in Victoria. A small entry charge applies. White Hat recommends that if you are interested in visiting Barwon Grange you are also likely to be interested in visiting The Heights Heritage House & Garden (see below) - this is about 10 minutes drive away and is also open on Sundays.

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National Wool Museum
A museum dedicated to the history of the wool industry in Australia and housed in in an 1872 bluestone woolstore

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The Heights Heritage House & Garden
A German prefabricated house and outbuildings in Geelong constructed in 1855 then later refurbished in 1930s style. A small entry fee applies. The house is surrounded by impressive gardens and and the grounds contain stables, the groom's cottage and other outbuildings suited to a wealthy family in the late 19th century. White Hat particularly recommends you visit the dovecot (one of the few of its type remaining in Victoria to our knowledge) as well as the delightful one-off Standard motor car which is housed in the stables. White Hat recommends that if you are interested in visiting The Heights you are also likely to be interested in visiting Barwon Grange (see above) - this is about 10 minutes drive away and is also open on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Some markets in the Geelong region:

Belmont Market
A large indoor/outdoor market featuring craft & bric a brac. A small entry fee applies. White Hat suggests that if you enjoy garage sales then Belmont Market is like having 20 or 30 garage sales in the one location. In addition the indoor space has a range of low priced merchandise.

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Frankly My Dear Vintage Fair
A new vintage fair is now happening in Geelong at the Nash Hotel, on the first Saturday of each month. Lots of stall holders selling Vintage Mens, Womens Clothing and Accessories, Soul DJ’s spinning records,

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Geelong Computer Swap Meet
A large number of stalls selling new and second hand computer equipment and related goods. A small entry fee applies.

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Geelong Greyhounds Saturday Community Market at Beckley Park.
A large indoor/outdoor market with variety stalls, produce and food.

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Geelong Mill Markets
Until recently, this location hosted a large and popular market. That market has relocated to Newcomb (see below). The remaining Geelong Mills Matket now has a large array of retro advertising signs, furniture, and larger and quirky mechanical and industrial equipment. White Hat can recommend this market as a good source for those looking to do a quirky fitout as well as to theatre companies and film-makers looking for genuine period props. It now functions more as a warehouse so give a ring before making a special trip.

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Geelong Night Market
Based on the successful Night Market at Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, the Geelong Night Market features stalls with everything from a well-being area to eclectic wares and artisans to live entertainment. Street food showcases cuisines from around the world and there are activities for families to enjoy. White Hat can recommend this market as an atmospheric contribution to the relaxed atmosphere of Geelong over the summer holiday period.

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Geelong Showgrounds Market
An outdoor/indoor market with variety stalls, new and used goods. Casual stallholders welcome.

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Golden Plains Farmers Market
A genuine farmers market promoting the gorgeous local produce of the Golden Plains region.

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Mill Markets Newcomb
A large indoor market with permenant and casual stallholders selling antiques,collectables, vintage clothing, homewares, memmorabilia and retro fashions. White Hat suggests that if you enjoy the Chapel Street Bazaar in Melbourne you will find a similar range of items at the Newcomb Mill Market but with more space to move.

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Newtown Farmers Market
Featuring a wide range of fresh local produce direct from the Farmer/Producer to you. Fall in love with local food. Full information at Regional Farmers Markets.

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Osborne House – Makers & Growers Market
In the grounds of historic Osborne House overlooking Corio Bay. Arts, crafts and fresh produce, with sausage sizzle, coffee and hot soup.

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Steampacket Gardens Art & Craft Market
A quality market on the picturesque waterfront at Geelong. With a large array of arts, crafts, clothing, gifts and food stalls. Even if you are not a confirmed shopper, White Hat can recommend this market as a pleasant place to stroll and browse on a Sunday sfternoon.

What's on and things to do in the Geelong region:

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You can find a comprehensive guide to markets around Australia at The White Hat Guide to Markets in Australia.