North Shore - A brief history
The Wadawurrung Balug People
The Wadawurrung Balug people (People of the Water) before contact lived, worked and looked after the land and coastline from the Barrabool Hills through to Corio Bay and along Cowies creek to Limeburners Lagoon. Cowies and Hovells Creek were the Wadawurrungs’ supermarket and pharmacy.
They sourced food, water and medicines from the flora and fauna of the area.
The coast line from Moorpanyal Park through to Limeburners Lagoon was a high use area for the clan and provided them with fish from their fish traps and shellfish from the rocky shores.
European arrival in 1837 pushed the clan onto reserves away from their land and coastal area. They were expected to survive on foreign rations of tea, sugar and flour and unable to hunt, fish and gather the traditional way.
This heavily impacted on the Wadawurrung People. Dispossession of land, dislocation, clashes and the impact of introduced diseases saw a dramatic decline in their population.
The clan had 300 people in 1837 but by 1853 this was decimated by battles and disease leaving only 17 living clan members.
Willem Baa Nip - King Billy
Willem Baa Nip (also known as William Gore and King Billy) was a member of the local indigenous people, the Wadawurrung (Wathaurung).
Born in 1836 on the banks of a lagoon believed to be located in central Geelong near what is now Little Malop Street, he was later erroneously called the ‘last of the Barrabool trible’.
Willem Baa Nip (King Billy) was well respected, considered a learned man and became the spokesperson and negotiator for his own mob with the Europeans. After settlement he could be seen wandering daily from the reserve at Mt Duneed to Corio Bay to North Shore and back. Willem Baa Nip (King Billy) died in 1885 and is buried at the Geelong Western Cemetery.
A treaty signed by John Batman and Aboriginal elders offered goods for land. When the settlers came King Billy and clan members were pushed onto a reserve, no longer able to roam free.
King Billy and the signed treaty
Before industry and housing, the land at North Shore for a time was used for agriculture with piggeries and sheep farming; later followed by abattoirs and freezing works near the waters edge.
Western and Wimmera District Freezing Works
In 1891, the North Shore Improvement Association tried to develop a new residential suburb at North Shore. The Association wanted to promote the healthiness of the estate but demanded that the ‘pigs had to go’ as the presence of the piggeries of the Geelong Corporation were retarding the growth of the estate.
In 1893, nine families comprising of some sixty people resided in the area. With the newly established ’Landboomers Jetty’, and the threepence steamer fare from Geelong the; ‘Tourist guide of Geelong’ (1893) promoted the natural advantages of the area that could be accessed by road, rail and sea.
North Shore cliff and jetty looking south 1/1/24
Despite its beginnings rapid development of the area did not occur until 1920’s. From the 1920’s North Shore developed as a major industrial area with the establishment of Phosphate Co-operative Company (Pivot), Corio Distillery and International Harvester.
Pivot established a large number of company houses in the area as did the Corio Distillery.
Corio Distillery 1939
Today North Shore is a residential village of close to 200 household clustered around the Northern Shoreline.
North Shore Progress Association
The first inaugural meeting of the North Shore Progress Association was held at the Presbyterian Church in Seabeach Parade on 10 March 1926.
The Association arranged to meet every month and the membership comprised of 50 residents. The purpose of the group was to acquire for North Shore, social and infrastructure benefits that it had been missing out on.
Within the first year the Association sourced public and private money and managed to:
Install two concrete bathing boxes fitted with showers
Build a ramp in the cliff for easy access to the beach
Install a sewerage system
Establish a school in the church
Provide electricity to some houses
Advocate for the train to stop at North Shore for passenger pick up and for the bus company to provide better services to the area.
Today the North Shore Residents Group Inc. continues to advocate matters for their residents.
The North Shore Neighbourhood Walk
||Approximately 2.1 kilometres
||Approximately 30 minutes
Places of interest
1. Moorpanyal Park
This Park originally was called Armytage Park after George Armytage, a sheep station owner and a councillor on the Corio Shire.
The first residents of North Shore sought money from Council to plant trees, park fencing and to build a small jetty so the Steamers from Geelong could bring families to the seaside retreat.
During World War II the park was pressured into being used as a RAAF camp site.
2. First Nation People: Wadawurrung Balug Clan
Cowies Creek through to Limeburners Lagoon was where the Wadawurrung Balug Clan family of the Wathaurung lived.
The whole of the foreshore was used for fishing, feasting and living.
There are midden sites and evidence of fish traps all along this foreshore.
3. Windover House: 61-63 The Esplanade
In 1897, Walter Herbert Higgins owned this land which went through to Pine Ave. He was growing daffodils and later tulips to which the bulbs became world famous.
His business was known as the North Shore Bulb Farm.
Later the General Manager of Pivot, Mr Goodyear owned a house here called ‘Windover’ as pictured.
4. Phossie Park
Football was played on the ‘Phosphate Paddock’.
Footballs were scarcer in those days and on a windy day a shot at goal at the Geelong City end occasionally would bounce across the road and tumble down the cliff into Corio Bay.
Players and umpires would rest until the ball was retrieved.
The North Shore team had a big complement of players from the fertiliser works.
5. Phosphate Co-operative Company of Australia Ltd
Pivot: (now Incitec Pivot)
Early in 1919 Augustus Wolskel founder and first General Manager of Pivot had visions of forming a co-operative company to manufacture fertilisers for farmers at cost price. Recruiting shareholders and working on developing superphosphate, he looked for a larger premise.
Encouraged by the Geelong Harbour Trust he negotiated with the owners of a suitable area of land situated at North Shore. In 1924 plans were drawn up but still power connection missing. At the same time The Distillers Corporation was looking for a site on the main rail line to build a distillery.
The Co-op got together with them and agreed to purchase one of the diesel engines from the submarines that the Navy were disposing of and generate their own power.
The Distillers unable to wait went ahead and connected S.E.C. power and the Co-op had to do likewise.
6. Elcho House /Californian Bungalow: 33 Seabreeze Parade
Many of the houses in this area were owned by Australian Phosphate Co-operative and were occupied by their workers.
The Californian Bungalow style house was built here as the draughtsman’s home and office.
7. Presbyterian Church/School: 22 Seabeach Parade
This is the site of the former Presbyterian Church and first school in North Shore.
The Presbyterian Church was used as a school for 2 years before the Education Department selected land mid-way between the North Shore and the Corio Railway Stations and not more than 100 yards (150 metres) of the Phosphate Company Works, the Ford Company Workshops and the new Distillery.
8. Post Office
The post office opened in 1898 and serviced the area from the Princes Highway, North Shore Road to Phosphate Road and up to School Road skirting the Geelong Grammar School.
With the renaming of Norlane the post office then only serviced the area east of the rail line.
The original post office clock still remains atop what was the post office building.
9. North Shore Hall
Fronting The Esplanade, imagine the North Shore Hall hosting community meetings and the once a month North Shore Dance.
Veteran local Della Mitchell recalls a bus running out from Geelong central, bringing a full load of dancers mixing with the local families who kept a watchful eye on all and turning out cream cake and sandwich suppers.
10. Mission to Sea Farers
The King Edward VII Sailors Rest mission was built in 1912 on the waterfront.
This was an evangelical temperance organisation providing welfare services to sailors.
Now relocated in North Shore and called the Searfarers Centre, the mission staffed by a Chaplin and volunteers provides a range of support services for seafarers and a place to relax when in Port.
11. Midway Site History
Since 1981 Midway Pty Ltd has used this site to export Woodchips mainly to Japan and China for the production of paper.
Prior to this the site has had numerous industry uses. In 1937, an American Co. purchased 46 acres and established International Harvester Co. of Australia opening in May 1939.
With war declared in the September the plant became home to the American Airforce who assembled Fairey Fighter planes and trained our RAAF men.
In its boom time International Harvester made 300 tractors per month but closed 1982.
12. Karndoor-kapa (Norlane Corio Cycle loop)
The cycle loop is approximately 18 kilometres and surrounds the suburbs of Norlane, Corio and North Shore. The cycle loop is made up of 3 trails:
- Bay Trail
- Cowies Creek Trail and
- the Ted Wilson
Parts of the trail are shared trails on road and shared trails off road.