Geelong Waterfront Carousel
Geelong’s beautiful waterfront carousel is truly one of the jewels of Geelong; it is one of the “must see” attractions for any visitor to our magnificent city. Proudly overlooking the harbour with spectacular views out to Corio Bay, the modern sail like steel and glass pavilion glistens in the sun and is a striking focal point of our waterfront precinct.
Inside things get even more memorable, and some say even magical. The pavilion houses an extremely rare and beautiful Armitage Herschell Carousel dating back to 1892. Magnificently restored to its original glory, the carousel is complete with 36 horses and two delightful chariots. The historic carousel is one of the few left in the world, and it is not hard to see that ours is regarded by many as the best still in use.
Twenty four of the horses are actually original and took over 300 man hours each to restore. The remaining twelve horses were built using many of the same processes used in making the original with every effort used to make them as authentic as possible. Even real coach wood was imported from the United States in an effort to match the original as close as possible. The whole project took a team of talented craftsman over two years to complete after recovering the carousel from storage in the Victorian gold district town of Castlemaine.
To help show the incredible craftsmanship and the condition of the carousel before restoration, the pavilion features a small display showing some of the original horses that have not been restored and a few intriguing panels explaining the processes used. It is quite astonishing what these talented craftsmen were able to do to bring the carousel to life, which in-turn is bringing so much joy to new generations of people and will for many years to come.
The carousel tells the story of King Arthur and Camelot. The beautiful paintings form branches which hold the canopy like a giant tree, with panels showing the tales of the story. The horses and chariots circle the story and along with the whimsical carnival music give the pavilion a fairy-tale like atmosphere. Originally the carousel was powered by steam, but in its restored form it now runs on electric power.
Alongside the carousel is a pipe organ which is another historic and magnificent piece of detailed craftsmanship. The organ has also been painstakingly restored using many of the original items and exact authentic replicas of original pieces. The organ plays collection of colourful Dixieland melodies and gives the pavilion a cheerful atmosphere.
This carousel has a particularly fascinating history and has had quite a journey before finding its home on Geelong’s waterfront. It was built by the Armitage Herschell Company of New York; and it was in-fact used in New York before being shipped to Australia around 1920. It spent a large portion of its life on the Mornington Peninsula at the other side of Port Phillip Bay in the seaside town of Mordialloc. The carousel is also believed to have been part of a traveling carnival for a period before ending up in a paddock near the Murray River township of Echuca where it was left to slowly deteriorate. Years later it was put in an auction lot and moved to Castlemaine in the heart of Victoria’s Golden Triangle. The City of Greater Geelong with the help of the State Government purchased the historic ruins and commissioned its enormous restoration process. Much of this was done in the wool stores where Deakin’s Waterfront Campus now stands.
It’s not only the children have a giant gleam when they see this wonderful piece of bygone beauty, the carousel has become a favorite location for parties, corporate events and even wedding receptions, and there is no better place in Geelong to take magnificent wedding photos.
The pavilion is usually open daily and entry is free, but there is a small charge to ride the carousel. A disabled lift is also provided to access the carousel if need be.
[Map Popup name=”Geelong Waterfront Carousel” street=”1 Eastern Beach Road” location=”Geelong” phone=”03 5224 1547″ lat=”-38.14365930450823″ long=”144.3628533164554″]