Geelong viewed across Corio Bay from The Esplanade Drumcondra in 2010.
The Geelong metropolitan area is the second most populated area in the Australian state of Victoria. Located 75 kilometres (47 mi) south-west of the state capital, Melbourne, the port city is situated around Corio Bay and the Barwon River. The metropolitan area runs from the plains of Lara in the north to the rolling hills of Waurn Ponds to the south, with the bay to the east and hills to the west, an area with an estimated population of 160,891 people. Geelong was named in 1827, with the name derived from the local Wathaurong Aboriginal name for the region, Jillong, 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). Population increases over the last decade were due to growth in service industries, as the manufacturing sector has declined. Redevelopmentof 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.
Early history and foundation
The area of Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula was originally occupied by the WathaurongIndigenous Australian tribe. The first non-Indigenous person recorded as visiting the region was Lt. John Murray, who commanded the brig HMS Lady Nelson. After anchoring outside Port Phillip Heads (the narrow entrance to Port Phillip, onto which both Geelong and Melbourne now front) on 1 February 1802 he sent a small boat with six men to explore. Led by John Bowen they explored the immediate area, returning to the Lady Nelson on 4 February. On reporting favourable findings, the Lady Nelson entered Port Phillip on 14 February, and did not leave until 12 March. In January 1803, Surveyor-General Charles Grimes arrived at Port Phillip in the sloop Cumberland and mapped the area, including the future site of Geelong, but reported the area was unfavourable for settlement and returned to Sydney on 27 February. The convict William Buckley escaped from the Sullivan Bay settlement in 1803, and lived among the Wathaurong people for 32 years on the Bellarine Peninsula. In 1835,John Batman used Indented Head as his base camp, leaving behind several employees whilst he returned to Tasmania (then known as Van Diemen's Land) for more supplies and his family. In this same year, Buckley surrendered to the party led by John Helder Wedge and was later pardoned by Lieutenant-Governor Sir George Arthur, and subsequently given the position of interpreter to the natives.
Government housing was constructed in the suburbs of East Geelong, Norlane, North Shore and Corio from the 1950s. The banks of the Barwon River burst in 1952, inundating nearby Belmont Common. Geelong continued to expand with Corio, Highton and Belmont growing at such a rate that in February 1967 Geelong accounted for 21 percent of private home development in Greater Melbourne. Private vehicles became the city's major mode of transport. The first parking meters in the city were introduced in 1961, new petrol stations were constructed and the city's first supermarket, operated by Coles, opened in 1965. Industrial growth continued with a second cement works operating at Waurn Ponds by 1964 and the Alcoa Point Henry aluminium smelter constructed in 1962.
Geelong's major employers include the Ford Motor Company engine plant inNorlane, aircraft maintenance at Avalon Airport, the head office of retail chainTarget, the Bartter (Steggles) chicken processing plant, Alcoa's Point Henryaluminium smelter, and the Shell oil refinery at Corio. The Geelong region attracted over 6 million tourists during 2001. Major tourist attractions include the Waterfront Geelong precinct and Eastern Beach on the shores of Corio Bay, the Ford Discovery Centre and National Wool Museum in the city, and more than 30 historical buildings listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. The Geelong area hosts regular international events which are also tourist drawcards including the Australian International Airshow. Geelong has a number of shopping precincts in the CBD and surrounding suburbs. The two main shopping centres are located in the CBD - Westfield Geelong and Market Square, with smaller centres in the suburbs including Belmont Plaza and Waurn Ponds Shopping Centre in the south, Bellarine Village in Newcomb in the east, and Corio Village Shopping Centre in the north. The opening of the major shopping centres have seen a decline in strip shopping on Moorabool Street, with many empty shops and few customers. Geelong is also home to Mitre 10's largest franchisees - Fagg's - operating five stores across the town and employing over 160 people.
The 2006 Census found the most common religious affiliation in Geelong was Catholicism at 29.4%. St. Mary of the Angels Basilica is the largest congregation in the city. Other affiliations of resident of Geelong include No Religion 20.5%, Anglican 14.6%, Uniting Church 7.9% and Presbyterian and Reformed at 4.3%. The city has a large number of traditional Christian churches, as well as Orthodox Christian churches in the northern suburbs.
In local government, the Geelong region is covered by the City of Greater Geelong. The council was created in 1993 as an amalgamation of a number of other municipalities in the region, with the council chambers located at the Geelong Town Hall in central Geelong. The City is made up of 12 wards, each represented by a councillor elected once every four years by postal voting. Since 2012, the Mayor of Geelong is directly elected for a four-year term by theelectorate of the City of Greater Geelong. Entrepreneur and former paparazzo Darryn Lyons was voted into the mayoral position in November 2013.
The Royal Geelong Show is held each year at the Geelong Showgrounds. Other smaller events include Pako Festa (held annually in February), Gala Day Parade (annual event that celebrated its 96th year in 2012) and Family Fun Day (held annually as part of the Gala Day celebrations),and the Geelong Heritage Festival that is run by the local branch of the National Trust. Geelong hosts Victoria's only international photographic salon 'VIGEX' every two years. VIGEX is an acronym for "VIctoria Geelong EXhibition" and the inaugural event was held in 1980. The Australian Photographic Society (APS), the world governing body of exhibition photography the International Federation of Photographic Art(FIAP) and the Victorian Association of Photographic Societies (VAPS) are patrons of the biennial photographic salon.