Repurposing Geelong’s iconic buildings

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The Dalgety & Co Woolstore on the corner of Gheringhap and Brougham Streets in 1975. (Image courtesy of the National Archives of Australia. NAA: B583, 2/1975)

Geelong’s CBD skyline has seen a multitude of changing looks in its close-to-200 year history; from the redbrick wool stores of the late 1800s to modern towering high rises.

The development of the city has been a balancing act between new towers and the historic buildings of Geelong’s past. Some buildings from a different age still stand in Geelong; for example, the core of the former St. Andrews Presbyterian Church (which is now St. John’s Lutheran Church) on Yarra St dates back to 1841.

However, some city building from past centuries have been repurposed to have second lives. Some are used for shopping complexes or corporate buildings, while others are used for education. Deakin University currently uses buildings more than a century old, such as the Dalgety & Co Woolstores and the T & G Building, for education purposes and student residence. Below are four examples of buildings constructed in the past century that have been revitalised into a new age.

  1. Geelong Power Station A

    Geelong Power Station A (1948), the original facade is still used today on the Westfield Geelong complex.
    (Photo: Museums Victoria)

    Then:

    The facade of Geelong Power Station A, used as part of the Westfield Geelong complex.
    (Photo: Marcus Wong Wongm, Wikimedia via CC).

    Located on the corner of Brougham and Yarra streets in Geelong, construction began by the Electric Lighting and Traction Company of Australia in 1900. The supply of electricity in Geelong began on 3 May 1901 and continued until 17 July 1961. The plant was dismantled from 1966 to 1967 and was sold in 1970.

    Now:

    The facade of the building was kept and used as part of the construction of Bay City Plaza, which opened in April 1988. The complex became Westfield Bay City in 2003, and finally Westfield Geelong in 2008.

  2. Dalgety & Co Woolstore

    Dalgety’s Wool Store on Gheringhap St, Geelong (1904)
    (Photo: C. Fox via State Library of Victoria)

    Then:

    Deakin’s Waterfront campus, with ‘Dalgerty and Company Limited’ logo painted on the brickwork (2019).
    (Photo: Thom Devereux)

    The original Dalgety & Co Woolstore was built in 1891 however, in 1901, a further wool store was built in red brick. The design of this wool store resembled those built in Sydney in the late 1890s, featuring small windows and large arched brickwork panels. During the 1970s and ’80s the wool industry weakened until this storage building became obsolete.

    Now:

    In 1996, Deakin University purchased the Dalgety & Co’s Woolstore property to create a second Geelong campus to complement the one in Waurn Ponds. The original red brick façade remains today at Deakin’s Waterfront campus. The building also won the President’s Award for Recycled Buildings in 1997.

  3. WorkSafe / Dalgety & Co Ltd Building

    The Dalgety & Co Ltd building in 2013, prior to the construction of the WorkSafe building.
    (Photo: J. J. Myers)

    Then:

    The WorkSafe building in Geelong, built into an old Dalgety & Co. building (2019)
    (Photo: Thom Devereux)

    The Dalgety & Co Ltd building was built during 1924-25 as the company’s administrative office and was designed by Geelong architects Laird and Buchan. Dalgety & Co remained the owners of this building until the 1990s.

    Now:
    In 2016 Quintessential Equity gained a contract to construct a 14-storey, $120 million building on top of the Dalgety & Co Ltd building. This would become the tallest building in Geelong, and act as WorkSafe’s Victorian headquarters.

  4. T & G Building
The T & G Building (pictured in the 1950s) was completed in 1934 and featured a unique ‘Father and Son’ clock chime.
(Photo: Rose Stereograph Co via State Library of Victoria)

Then:

The T & G Building in 2010, four years before it would be purchased by Deakin.
(Photo: Mattinbig, Wikimedia via CC)

Geelong’s T & G Building was constructed by the T & G Mutual Life Assurance Society in 1933 amid the Great Depression, with the intention of stimulating employment in the city. The building featured a unique clock on a tower, which included two life-sized cast bronze figures of a farmer and his son who struck bells on each hour.

Now:

In 2014 Deakin University purchased the T & G Building for about $2.8 million. In 2016, Deakin opened 33 modern studio apartments for postgraduate and mature-age students. The building still features its original paint designs, though the clock chime no longer operates.

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