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Geelong Library and Heritage Centre
Geelong Library 2015.jpg
Formation 1858 (library), 1979 (heritage centre)
Headquarters Little Malop St., Geelong
  • Geelong, Victoria, Australia

The Geelong Library and Heritage Centre is a regional library, archive and resource facility in the city of Geelong, Victoria, Australia. Geelong Free Library was begun in 1858. The Geelong Historical Records Centre was established in 1979 as a depository for significant historical records and archives from the district. The centre is a Place of Deposit, as part of the Public Record Office Victoria network of community archives designated for the preservation of Victoria's history. It is described as ...the largest regional archive in Victoria.

Geelong Regional Library

The Geelong Library began in 1858 as part of the Mechanics Institute. It expanded in 1876, when it relocated to a large neoclassical building in Moorabool Street, formerly owned by the Geelong Chamber of commerce. The library moved to a new building in Johnstone Park, designed by Buchan, Laird & Buchan, which opened in 1962.

Geelong Historical Records Centre

Formerly known as the Geelong Historical Records Section, its name was changed in 2003 to the Geelong Heritage Centre. The Geelong Heritage Centre also holds archival and historical records gathered by the Geelong Historical Society, which has also been involved in numerous commemorative events and dedicating monuments and is often cited as the authoritative source on early Geelong people and history. including the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Matthew Flinders exploration of the district and climbing of Station Peak.

Geelong Historical Society

The Geelong Historical Society was instrumental in the establishment of the Geelong Historical Records Centre as an approved place of deposit for historic local government records, through a partnership with the Geelong local government and Public Record Office Victoria in 1979. The Geelong Historical Society is an amateur historical society, founded in 1944 to research and publish on the history of the town of Geelong, Victoria and the surrounding district. The minutes and financial records of the society have been preserved at the Geelong Heritage Centre, suggesting the society's origin may date back to 1920. It was at this time that the mayor of Geelong, Howard Hitchcock, proposed that an exhibition of "relics and historical records" be staged at the Geelong City Hall. The exhibition was opened by anthropologist Sir Baldwin Spencer on 27 September 1921, and extended to 14 October. Those items formed the basis of the later society's collection. A local historian, Norm Houghton, was instrumental in helping organise the collection.


The Geelong Heritage Centre was temporarily housed in the National Wool Museum, while the new Geelong Library and Heritage Centre was being rebuilt. The new Geelong Library and Heritage Centre, was erected on the site of the former Geelong Volunteer Fire Brigade Station (which was demolished in 1918) and the former library adjacent to the Geelong War Memorial and Geelong Art Gallery. The centre's new building, which has been designed by the Melbourne architectural firm, ARM Architecture, features a unique geodesic dome constructed of glass and reinforced concrete, has been described as "... an iconic addition to Geelong's architectural and cultural landscape". The centre covers over 6,000 square metres, and includes a children's exploration and discovery zone, a youth area, as well as a heritage centre repository, which w will hold 120,000 print and multimedia collection items. The cost of the redevelopment has been put at A$45 million. The fractured dome design uses over 400 prefabricated glass-reinforced concrete tiles, which make up the sphere roof, which was described by ARM Architecture technical director Wayne Sanderson as having been ... modelled on the domes of great historical buildings.

The design of the building references the domes of the great libraries of the world, Library of Congress and the State Library domed reading room. Clad in 332 panels of glass reinforced concrete, which ...reinforce the appearance of a geodesic dome and allow the building to harmonise with its surrounding masonry neighbours. These included the classical Geelong Art Gallery and old Geelong Town Hall, the Art Deco courthouse and the brutalist State Government Offices.

The new building was opened by Geelong Mayor Darryn Lyons on 21 November 2015.

Holdings and exhibits

The Library and Heritage Centre contains over 1 million items, including a large lending and reference collection and specialist scientific collections such as the John Raddenberry Fern and Lycopod collection. the local history collection is housed in the Vault Kim barne thaliyu on level 3, a dedicated space housing specialist resources for the local history of Geelong and surrounds.

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