Interesting times. Looks like the new mayor will be a bit of a shocker like his hair. Made his money as part of the papparazzi in Europe, owns four pubs in Geelong, very flamboyant man, but with lots of energy. Maybe that's what Geelong needs at present.
''It's going to be a flying start,'' said Darryn Lyons, who on Sunday night looked all but certain to be voted Geelong's second directly elected mayor, in a resounding victory.
Residents and ratepayers in the state's second city got behind the pub and club entrepreneur, and former photographer who likes to be known as Mr Paparazzi. With more than half the vote counted, the 48-year-old had more than double the votes of his nearest competitor.
We've gone from a non-drinking, strong Christian and we are going to someone who owns pubs and clubs and is incredibly flamboyant. It's going to be interesting.
The count, which the Victorian Electoral Commission will finish on Monday, came after the resignation of inaugural directly elected mayor Keith Fagg, who served just nine months of a four-year term.
The many faces of former photographer Darryn Lyons. Photo: Joe Armao
''I've had a few emotional moments, but I've kept it in control,'' said Mr Lyons, who stressed that the final vote was not yet certain and that preferences could still in theory see him lose the ballot.
However, assuming he won the poll, Mr Lyons said he would launch into the role on Wednesday, and work closely with Geelong's 12 ward councillors.
''He clearly has a mandate,'' said one of those councillors, Jan Farrell. And the change from the former mayor could not be starker, she said: ''We've gone from a non-drinking, strong Christian and we are going to someone who owns pubs and clubs and is incredibly flamboyant. It's going to be interesting.''
Mr Lyons was not the preferred candidate of either the Liberal Party, of which he is a member, or the local Committee for Geelong. But he looked to have easily defeated their preferred candidate Ken Jarvis, who was trailing in third position in the poll on Sunday afternoon.
Mr Lyons grew up in Geelong and worked as a photographer at newspapers there before launching his career in London. He now owns the Home House nightclub and the Elephant and Castle and Eureka hotels in Geelong, and the Growlers restaurant in Torquay.
Cr Farrell said the Committee for Geelong - which pushed for a directly elected mayor model like Melbourne City Council - would be sorely disappointed by the result.
Geelong property and fruit entrepreneur Frank Costa said Mr Lyons had won by ''quite a margin''.
''I would have preferred Ken Jarvis, he was the man I felt had the credentials,'' Mr Costa said. But Mr Lyons was ''definitely the people's choice,'' he said, ''so we've all got to get behind him.''