Saturday, July 25, 2009

Recycled buildings in Geelong

interior of the former St Giles
from w

From woolstores to a university campus
From a woolstore to a museum/café/nightclub
From Mission to Seamen to a restaurant
From St Giles church to a restaurant then nightclub then offices
From a church in the Bellarine wildwood to a café
From Shenton church to a school theatre
From a manse to music practice rooms (where we once lived)
From a manse to a medical centre for women
From Swanston Primary School to a mental health institution
From Geelong gaol governor's house to a mental health drop-in centre
From a gaol to a financial counselling meeting place
From a private house to a bed-and-breakfast
From a church to an artist's studio
From a monastery to a Baptist centre
From a Sunday school building to a drama classroom
A courthouse to a youth centre
From West Geelong Town Hall to a migrant resource centre
From a pre-school to rooms for migrant activities
In Queenscliff, from a church to a bric-a-brac/craft/art sales outlet
From a Methodist church to a mosque
From a bay-side shed to a restaurant
From a squatter's home to a museum
In North Geelong, from a home to council chambers to adult training centre
From stables to a maritime museum
From council yards to Donation in Kind
From a bowling facility to a chapel (removed and rebuilt)
The list goes on and on.

As society changes, many buildings in Geelong have been recycled for different purposes. For example, the woolstores closed because Geelong no longer was a port for wool.

Why have so many churches closed? The formation of the Uniting Church meant the closure of many church buildings as three denominations (Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational) amalgamated. But others just lost members and were no longer viable. There are still some old stone churches standing, perhaps heritage listed, but their immovable furniture and old-fashioned look doesn't work well with living in the 21st century. Our Geelong East Uniting Church went against the trend by an inspired decision to move a redundant building, part of a lawn bowling facility in Belmont to become transformed into a modern chapel on a hill up Boundary Rd.

There was plenty of movement at the hospital site nearby - Gsxter House (for babies)moved to where the Dax House psych ward was, the psych ward went to the Swanston Street Primary school site. A Private hospital replaced Baxter.

The gaol closed because a new one was built - out of town, out of sight! but the gaol has some shifts in its time:
from 1853 Gaol for convicts and prisoners
1865 - 1872 Industrial school for girls (street kids)
From 1877 Hospital gaol
1940 - 1947 Army detention barracks
1947- 1958 Hospital gaol
1958 - 1991 Training prison
Since then - all kinds of activities including ghost tours at night! The old gaol still seems to have horrible vibes from the past and when I was there last week, in the mental health waiting room being chatted at by a guy who thought I was 45, I can tell you I was not comfortable!

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