Cobbin Homestead and Chapel

Cobbin Homestead and Chapel, home to U3A Geelong during the week, is available for hire on weekends and school holidays.

Spaces available include:

  • the Homestead
  • the Chapel and
  • two outdoor lawn areas.

Located along the Waurn Ponds Trail, it is a quiet and idyllic location with a picturesque backdrop of the Waurn Ponds Creek and plenty of green, open spaces.

The Homestead can cater for up to 100 people, and the chapel can fit approximately 70 (seated) or around 85 (with standing room).

The best availability for the venue is on weekends and school holidays.

About Cobbin Homestead and Chapel...

The Homestead

Originally named Pine Grove, the homestead was built in 1847 by the first permanent settler in the area, Alexander Pennell after it was purchased from the Crown earlier that year. 

By the mid 1870s, 160 acres of the land was owned by Albert and August Hartwick and they established an orchard and farm on the property. They remained there until 1941 when the farm was taken over by Stanley Hartwick and he lived there until the late 1950s. 

In the early 1980s, the homestead, which was owned by the Richardson family was sold to the Geelong Regional Commission.

The Chapel

Originally Saint Cuthbert's Church of England, was designed by Laird and Buchan Architects and built by Mr Kelly in 1911.  The church building was situated at the corner of the Marshalltown and Barwon Heads Roads. 

In the 1970s Grovedale had been established as a new housing area and the parish took advantage by purchasing an excellent site right in the centre of Grovedale.  New people came to Saint Cuthbert's from Grovedale and the parish assumed new vigour.  A house was bought in Grovedale in 1977 for the first resident priest, Reverend Grant Morrow.  With much growth occurring, it was soon decided to build a new worship centre on the centrally located land in Heyers Road, Grovedale. 

In 1982 the final service of Marshall was commenced at the Marshall chapel and finished at the new site in Grovedale.  The chapel was purchased by the City of South Barwon and operated as the Marshall Community Centre from about 1983-1987.


The Precinct

In 1985-86 the City of South Barwon was invited by the Geelong Regional Commission to manage the facility at 231 Grove Road for an appropriate community use. The matter was discussed at council meetings to determine the most suitable use. Some of the options tabled included; conference centre with accommodation,  reception rooms and restaurant, tea rooms with picnic area and kiosk, historical centre and community visual arts centre. It was agreed that the availability of the property should be advertised and submissions sought over a period of two months for appropriate use of the property. In October 1986 it was determined that the Grove Road property may offer the better alternative to establish a Community Arts Centre for the City of South Barwon.

The Council had for a number of years been working towards the development of a Community Arts Centre. The Marshall Community Centre site had been regarded as the most appropriate site for this development since 1983. A plan had been adopted by Council in December 1984, however there were a number of factors limiting progress on the project such as, lack of size of internal footprint, residential concerns, poor condition of existing buildings and cost. In contrast, the Grove Road site was better located, the site was not restrictive and the house provided a base on which the Centre could be developed. In February 1987 it was decided that the former chapel could be relocated from the site in Marshall to Grove Road to establish the Centre for the Arts.

On 25 May 1987, the first stage of work commenced. The three southern bedrooms of the homestead were converted into a caretaker's unit. Works finished in August and the position was advertised.

The second stage of works commenced on 21 September the same year. These works included relocation of chapel from Marshall by truck to replace garage (which was demolished), removal of tennis court, painting, construction of gazebos, removal of swimming pool, building renovations and upgrade of essential services. The finishing date for the project was 4 March 1988.

The Cobbin Farm Centre for the Arts was officially opened on 27 November 1988 by the Honourable RC Fordham MP, Minister for the Arts.

In 2007-2008 the University of the Third Age (U3A) Geelong approached Council as they were looking for a venue. Cobbin Farm was the ideal venue as it had previously been vacated. The U3A program which operated during school term allowed the venue to still be hired out to the community in the evenings and during school holidays. 

In 2017, after 30 years as a caretaker's unit and residential tenancy, the southern part of the homestead was absorbed back into the original homestead. This created an additional space for chapel hirers and U3A including ambulant toilet, small kitchen and small lounge. The private yard was also removed, creating an open lawn and picturesque setting for people to sit or congregate outside the chapel.

In 2020, the venue received a designated sealed car park and external lighting, with renovations to the indoor amenities in the homestead including new male, female and accessible toilet as well as joinery upgrades in the kitchenette and unisex toilet.

Page last updated: Tuesday, 8 September 2020