Saturday, March 16, 2013

camminando | Geelong, 38.15S : 144.35E | First Visual Impressions

On March 12, for my second time, I landed in Australian soil, after a 25 hour flight, yet the most direct flying path NYC>LA>Melbourne. From the Melbourne airport, another 75km of highways in the south west direction take me to my current final destination: Geelong, Victoria. Geelong is located in the Corio Bay and Wikipedia tells me that it took its name in 1827 "derived from the local Wathaurong Aboriginal name for the region, Jillong, thought to mean land or cliffs". Geelong was an industrial town with the first wool store opening in the 1840s becoming a prominent port for the wool industry. It also became "the main port to the rich goldfields of the Ballarat district"  and during the 1860s was one of the largest Australian manufacturing centers, for its wool mills, ropeworks, and paper mills. Geelong manufacturing presence continued with the car industry for Ford Australia
Over the last decade as the manufacturing sector has declined replaced by service industries, mainly heathcare and education. Deakin University is the main education facility with two campus, one located at the Geelong waterfront and the other at Waurn Ponds, home of the Geelong Technology Precinct, with focus on biotech, information technology and health science. Deakin University is the reason of my temporary relocation to Geelong: as a recipient of a Post Graduate Research Scholarship I will be pursuing a PhD at the School of Architecture in the Waterfront Campus.
As we approaching Geelong from the Melbourne airport I am taken by the unusual landscape: dry brownish field with sculptural gum trees and eucalypti. And then Corio Bays appears announced by palm trees appearing from the deserted factories and smokestacks.
Below are my first visual encounters with Geelong: