Brougham Street stretches from east to west, beginning at Bellarine Street near Eastern Beach and finishing at Mercer Street with a small extension to La Trobe Terrace. Brougham Street has probably had more development than any other street in Geelong over the last fifteen or so years and more is on the way.
The eastern end of the street is home to a huge residential development called Harding Park which became one of the city’s more controversial developments. Next door is the tax department which has sweeping views over the Royal Geelong Yacht club and bay front. The tax department building was actually built for the Pyramid Building Society in the 1980’s which collapsed and sent Geelong and it’s people into a financial hardship for several years.
Over Yarra Street and the red brick starts on the southern side, this is an example of one of Geelong’s wool stores which lined pretty much the entire waterfront precinct during the wool heyday. Today the wool store which stretches the entire block is home to the Westfield Bay City shopping complex, home to over a hundred big brand stores including Myer, Target, Big W and Coles.
To the north what once was the Geelong RSL has been redeveloped into apartments and the Four Points by Sheraton hotel complex. The port of Geelong has its offices next door and the multi story apartment complex was once a government building before moving to newer premises around the city.
Overlooking the Brougham and Moorabool Street corner is a beautiful historic sandstone building known as the customs house. This is one of Geelong’s most underrated treasures. With its magnificent grassy “Paris Trocadero like” boulevard of grass to the waterfront and amazing colonial architecture the building has been overlooked and never has had its chance to take its rightful place of jewel of the Geelong waterfront precinct. Hopefully soon a great idea will come along and the building can be of use and regain its former glory as a new icon for our city.
diangley across from the customs house is another historic building, but this time it has been put to a great use, home to the National Wool Museum and Lamby’s bar and bistro. The National Wool Museum was opened by Queen Elizabeth II during Australia’s bicentennial celebrations in 1988 and celebrates the important role the wool industry has played on not only Geelong but the entire country. In the lower bowels of the building Lamby’s bar and bistro has remained one of Geelong’s most popular night spots for well over 20 years.
Next to the wool museum on a site once known as the Bow Truss building which was another controversial demolition in the 1980’s is one of Geelong’s brand new office complexes. The modern colourful building is home to the TAC or Victorian Traffic Authority Commission and home to hundreds of employees who now call central Geelong their workplace.
The red brick bus port to the west of the TAC is one of our car parks supporting local workers and Deakin University which occupies the huge refurbished Denny’s Lascelles wool stores across the road and to the watefront. Deakin have two major campuses in Geelong, one at Waurn Ponds on our South Western fringe and the Wool stores on our Waterfront. This campus is home to the Alfred Deakin Prime Ministerial Library, Costa Hall which is one of our country’s most spectacular theatres, and has students studying Architecture, Nursing, social development amongst other subjects.
Back in 1925 in a wool store which now occupied by Deakin on the corner of Brougham and Gheringhap Street, the Ford Motor Company started its Australian production, before later moving to new facilities in Norlane which they still occupy today. This site is just across the road from where the Ford Discovery Centre, was located between 1999 and 2012 celebrating the rich and diverse history of the Ford Motor Company.
For history buffs or those interested in the unusual the Mill Markets on the corner of Gheringhap and Brougham street is a wonderful visit. Here not only can you pick up a very unique artefact but you can see one of the few remaining wool stores pretty much intact. This impressive red brick building still retains the entire huge timber skeleton which is visible inside the market.
Brougham Street ends with the Hotham Hotel sitting proudly on the corner of Cavendish Street looking over the busy Mercer Street, The Hotham is one of the few remaining real pubs in Geelong which hasn’t had a multi-million dollar makeover or invaded by poker machines. The Hotham is just an honest good time pub where you can get a good value meal and best of all an ice cold beer.