Geelong library and Heritage Centre

Geelong Library and Heritage Centre

The Geelong Library and Heritage Centre is a regional library, archive and resource facility in the city of Geelong, Victoria, Australia.[1] Geelong Free Library was begun in 1858.[2] The Geelong Historical Records Centre was established in 1979 as a depository for significant historical records and archives from the district.[3] 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.[4] It is described as …the largest regional archive in Victoria. [5]

The Geelong Library was commenced in 1858 under the Mechanics Institute, and expanded with the erection of a large neoclassical building in 1875. A new building was designed by Buchan, Laird & Buchan and built in 1962.

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,[7] which has also been involved in numerous commemorative events and dedicating monuments[8] and is often cited as the authoritative source on early Geelong people and history.[9][10] including the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Matthew Flinders exploration of the district and climbing of Station Peak.[11]

The Geelong Historical Society[12] 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.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15] 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. These items formed the basis of the later society’s collection. A local historian, Norm Houghton, was instrumental in helping organise the collection.