The bollards, carved in reclaimed timber pier pylons, are the work of Melbourne born artist Jan Mitchell.
Jan returned to Australia after working overseas for almost 20 years, primarily as a graphics artist with the Irish National Television Network. Working as a book illustrator back home she exhibited her first carved bollard at Barwon Heads before presenting the concept for the Waterfront Bollard Walk to the Geelong City Commissioners in 1994.
Five years and 103 bollards later she had created a unique tourist attraction which drew considerable international media attention.
Lifesavers on Eastern Beach
Fittingly bollard number 1 on Hearne Parade at Limeburners Point depicts a Limeburner, one of the earliest if not the earliest industry conducted in the region with Lime being exported to Tasmania as early as 1841.
Bollard number 2 shows Matthew Flinders who first sighted Corio Bay from what is now Flinders Peak in the You Yangs in May 1802.
Two salty old sea-dogs from different eras
To detail the stories of the entire 48 sites would take a small book but here are just a few to whet your appetite.
Five bollards make up site number 7, the Bathing Tableau, showing the progression of design in male & female bathing costumes from the 1880's to the 1930's.
Bollard number 22 depicts a Tram Conductress and commemorates Geelong's trams which ran from 1912 to 1956.
Number 23 is another group of 5 bollards representing members of the Volunteer Rifle Band playing in Geelong's first band concert at the nearby Botanic Gardens in 1861.
And remember to look out for the rabbits depicted on the base of several of the bollards. They symbolise the introduction of the first 24 rabbits into Australia at nearby Winchelsea in 1859 by Thomas Austin. Those 24 bred in plague proportions, wreaking havoc at various times in the intervening 154 years and reaching an estimated population of 300 million recently.
Walking the Waterfront Bollards Trail also creates a great opportunity to experience other attractions along the foreshore including the beautifully restored Carousel circa 1892, Cunningham Pier and any number of cafes and restaurants.
103 of Jan Mitchell's brightly coloured bollards are dotted along the foreshore
Before you visit Geelong be sure to go to the Geelong Australia website and download their Central Geelong Arts and Culture Walking Trails PDF which, among others, provides a fabulous map and guide notes to the Waterfront Bollard Trail.
Other carved bollard figures by Jan Mitchell are on display at Melbourne and Avalon airports. Jan Mitchell passed away in 2008 after a short battle with cancer.
The bollards add another dimension to a very pleasant walk along Geelong's fabulous waterfront precinct