HENRY KARNILOWICZ: Bring back an old Geelong icon,
let's .... Tram it again
FOR Christmas I came to visit my family and friends in
Geelong. I recalled the vibrant Geelong of the 1950s with
trams, a bustling city centre with stores like Coles and
Woolworths, movie theatres, an ice-skating rink, milk bars,
the Tien Wah restaurant on Malop St and a kaleidoscope of
Among its icons was the GPO on the corner of Gheringhap and
Ryrie, the beautifully landscaped Gheringhap St roundabout
with the lovely fountain, opposite Johnstone Park, and the T&G
building to whose clock I could set my watch and look up and
marvel at the two mechanical characters clanging the bells on
the hour and half-hour.
Now, in what seems to be a myopic rush, Westfield has
invaded Geelong and is expanding into the heritage buildings
on the waterfront while the rest of the city is decaying and
turning into a no-man's land with $2 stores, cash checking
places and vacant shops.
On the waterfront, Cunningham Pier has had a rather bizarre
makeover, more suitable for the desert than the bay, and just
one restaurant. It has so much potential, where there ought to
be a variety of shops and restaurants, and access only by foot
traffic, akin to the very popular and successful Pier 39 in San
How refreshing it was to visit placid and charming
Bannockburn, lovely Drysdale and the booming coastal towns
of Point Lonsdale, Torquay and Barwon Heads.
With much of the manufacturing industry having evaporated,
the one other source of income is tourism, particularly because
of Geelong's location with stunning beaches and numerous
wineries within a half hour drive from the city centre.
Living in San Francisco, where just a few months ago another
tram line was added to the city wide system, I can attest that
returning trams to Geelong would bring colour, create an
attraction for tourists and a better source for public
transportation, and provide better access to such places as
Eastern Beach and Cunningham Pier. No doubt though there
are people with vision in Geelong who will restore the sparkle to this gem of a city.
Henry Karnilowicz lives in San Francisco.