Located on the St Helen’s shoreline overlooking the city and Corio Bay is the magnificent 1858 Osborne House. The grand bluestone building with sweeping verandas was once a mansion for Robert Muirhead and takes its name from a property in his home town on the Isle of Wight.
The property was purchased by the State Government of Victoria in 1900 with the intention of converting the property into a country residence for the Victorian Governor, but this never happened. Instead the Geelong Harbour Trust purchased it a few years later and ran it as a guest house and by 1913 the Royal Australian Navy was using the property as a naval college. It was transformed into a naval hospital during World War I and between 1919 and 1924 became a base for the navy’s submarine service. The Geelong Harbour Trust later took back the property before the Shire of Corio purchased it in 1937. When the Second World War broke out the Department of Defence took over the building with the shire getting it back in 1943 and also purchasing nearby land after the war.
The Shire of Corio used the building as their council offices until they joined the City of Greater Geelong in 1995. In the 20 odd years since the site has been used for community groups, markets and small events. The grounds also house the Vietnam Veterans Association and the Geelong Naval and Maritime Museum.
The Osborne House complex is owned by the City of Greater Geelong, there are currently discussions on the future of this site and many other sites the council owns. The council is deciding whether to keep these properties or put them on the market to make way for new uses.
The Naval and Maritime Museum is open every day 10am to 4.30pm and can be accessed via Swinburne Street in North Geelong (Swinburne Street runs off Melbourne Road, next to the Vietnam Veterans memorial). The museum is located to the rear of the property, various events are also held randomly in Osbourne House itself throughout the year.
[Map Popup name=”Geelong Naval and Maritime Museum” street=”Swinburne Street” location=”North Geelong” phone=”03 5277 3808″ lat=”-38.11883632424236″ long=”144.3577253411896″]