Opposite Geelong city around the other side of Corio Bay there's salt pans and also a small row of cheap houses maybe for fishermen. Twenty-seven of them and the place was used in the Mad Max movies. It's not a pretty beach at all, mainly seaweed patches and a few pelicans. But the environmentalists declare that it's an important habitat for the orange-bellied parrot and other birds. However not far along the beach is a fine historical house called Avalon which once was owned by the Anglicans - Brotherhood of St Lawrence - and used for retreats and hosting 'time away' people who needed peace and quiet. We've been there a few times - years ago - for Uniting Church retreats. I don't know who owns it nowadays but we daren't go through the gate.
When I looked Avalon on the net I discovered it is now used as a College for international students! The website says: The Avalon Homestead, which we now use as Avalon College, was built in 1880 by James Austin, as a house for his family. The Austin family owned many large farms around Geelong and Western Victoria, and bred sheep, cattle and horses. They called this homestead "Avalon" in memory of their family home in England, Glastonbury Abbey. They placed a stone rosette from Glastonbury Abbey in the wall at the front of the homestead with a plaque above which reads:
Into the walls of Avalon is wrought
This stone from Glastonbury brought
Stay for a while Traveller and view
This link between the old world and the new
Avalon College was established here in the homestead by Jeffrey and Robyn Brook in 1998. Jeffrey and Robyn began Avalon College because they felt that young international students preparing to study in Australian schools needed a special and caring environment to develop their English skills and learn about Australia. Avalon College has always been a boarding school as Jeffrey and Robyn believe that boarding provides students and their parents with the guarantee of a safe and caring environment. Since 1998 many hundreds of International students have learned English here, and gone on to successful futures in many of the top schools in Australia and throughout the world.
Gazing out across the calm waters of Corio bay on misty mornings, one is reminded of the legend of King Arthur. His strength, resilience and courage inspire us to work hard to achieve our dreams in life, and a glimmer of his magic lives on in all of us here at Avalon College.
And below is a photo from the early days - perhaps when the Austin family lived there.
And later on: