Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

On the Wool Track - Geelong & Victoria

Along with gold, wool played a critical role in Victoria's development.

While Victoria itself only accounts for around 20 per cent of the wool industry by value, Melbourne's strategic location allowed it draw wool from the major wool growing areas of the Riverina and Western New South Wales, making Melbourne the biggest wool selling centre in Australia.

Our earlier story on paddle steamers and the Murray- Darling river system traced the competition for economic dominance along the river system between Victoria, NSW and South Australia. See second story for associated web links.

Wool's influence was not limited to Melbourne.

Located an hour's drive from Melbourne, Geelong with a population of 125,000 is Victoria's second largest city with a picturesque waterfront, parks, gardens, good dining and nearby vineyards .

The city's proximity to the Victoria's Western Districts made it a wool export port from the 1830's. The mark of wool is still there.

The city is home to two of Australia's best known private schools, Geelong Grammar and Geelong College, continuing the pattern to be found elsewhere in Australia in places such as Armidale or Toowoomba. Many of the city's finer buildings date from the wool period, including the historic blue stone wahehouses along the water front.

One of these has been restored to house the National Wool Musuem, providing a fascinating sight into wool and the wool industry.

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