Geelong was first sighted in 1802 and explored by both Lt. James Grant and a few months later by Matthew Flinders, who also explored inland areas, including climbing the You Yangs (the higher hills to the North of Geelong). A temporary settlement was establish in 1803, but as the convicts were headed for Hobart, this was soon abandoned. It was another 32 years before any permanent settlement was established.
From those early days, the main trade was in wool, however the turbulence of the economy in this sector meant that Geelong had a very rock century and was dubbed the ‘sleepy hollow’ in the late 1800’s. By the turn of the century, things were on the way up for Geelong, having Water and Sewage Treatment, Electricity and tramways, it was also becoming known for its fine schools and education. In 1925 the Ford Motor Company opened it’s manufacturing plant and nine years later the Great Ocean Road was opened, which saw the need for the Eastern Beach waterfront to be upgraded, as the area became more popular with the tourists.
Today, with the local Avalon Airport now the home port for Jetstar Airlines and the new highway from inner city melbourne, Geelong has become even more popular with visitors and resident alike and its population has swelled to approximately 160,000 residents.
The City of Geelong website has a lot more information about the history and local attractions in the area.
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