As part of my series on the Geelong Arts Precinct I thought I would include the Geelong Town Hall. The building has great architecture, it has two lions out the front guarding the Town Hall, and it has history. The Geelong Town Hall is opposite the Old Geelong Courthouse. It also shares the same block as the Geelong Art Gallery, the Geelong Peace Memorial and the site of the new Geelong Library and Geelong Heritage Centre.
One of the Lions outside Geelong Town Hall
Everything has a history. Have you ever wondered about a building, when it was planned, when it was built, how the land was allocated? I'd like to present the Geelong Town Hall, with a slice of history added for your entertainment.
The Council first bought the land for the Town Hall in 1854. The land was two acres (0.8 hectares) in size. It was on the corner of Little Malop Street and Gheringhap Street, where it still stands today.
There was a competition for the design of the building. There were twelve entries received. Joseph Reed, a Melbourne Architect, was the winner of the design competition.
The cost of the building was estimated at 34,533 pounds (or $69,066 dollars). Due to lack of funding, only a single southern wing was built along Little Malop Street. The Mayor at the time, Dr William Baylie, laid the foundation stone in 1855, with the southern wing being completed soon after that.
South Wing, Geelong Town Hall, copyright Geelong Heritage Centre
The Geelong Town Hall consisted of this single southern wing until the early 1900s. The original design was completed and opened in 1917.
The Geelong Town Hall is still located on the corner of Gheringhap Street and Little Malop Street. It is in central Geelong and is within the Geelong Arts Precinct. It was built for the City of Geelong. The name (of the council) changed in 1993 to the City of Greater Geelong, or COGG as it is known to the locals.
In 1849 Geelong became a Local Government entity under the Incorporation of the Town of Geelong Act. The Town of Geelong Act allowed the citizens of Geelong to elect their own Council and to govern the local area.
As communities developed in the surrounding areas around Geelong, a number of Councils were created. Geelong and its surrounding regions developed rapidly from this time on.
In 1993 the State Government introduced legislation to combine the more than 200 small local Councils into 78 larger Councils.
Geelong was the first region to go through amalgamation. Who remembers the Corio Shire Council offices on Anakie Road? In May 1993, six local Councils and part of the Barrabool Council were formed into one large municipality which was named the City of Greater Geelong.
Prior to that there were six Councils. Bellarine Rural City Council, Corio Shire Council, Geelong City Council, Geelong West City Council, Newtown City Council, and South Barwon City Council.
The City of Greater Geelong was governed by four Commissioners between 1993 and 1995. The Commissioners were appointed by the State and were paid Government representatives. Their role was to oversee the amalgamation process.
In March 1995, the City of Greater Geelong held its first election. Twelve Councillors, representing 12 Wards, were elected. Currently there are still twelve Councillors, each Councillor representing one Ward, and also one elected Mayor.
A further review took place in 2008 however the structure remained the same although ward boundaries were modified. There are now twelve Councillors each representing one Ward, and also one popularly elected Mayor.
Council meetings are held on Tuesday evening twice a month, usually at City Hall. Agenda and minutes for recent meetings and for older meetings can be accessed online or by contacting the Customer Service Centres.
Geelong Town Hall
Customer Service Centres
City of Greater Geelong office hours are 8.00am - 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. You can contact the customer service team with enquiries about services (e.g. parks, walk ways, tracks and trails) and events that the council supports.
As well as the Geelong Town Hall service centre, there are seven other Customer Service Centres throughout Geelong: 163 High St Belmont, Corio Shopping Centre, Hancock St Drysdale, 153a Pakington St Geelong West, 100 Brougham St Geelong, The Grove Centre Ocean Grove, and 230 Pioneer Rd Waurn Ponds.