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Ghosts of Geelong’s past


Ghost sightings can be a blink and you’ll miss it affair. Take a look at regional Victoria’s ghastly past and you might think differently. Home to some of Victoria’s notorious gaols and asylums, the various sites are now popular spots for self-proclaimed ghostbusters.

Known as the paradise for liquid gold, Beechworth has a lot more than honey. With sites including the Old Beechworth Gaol – home to Ned Kelly and his gang and Beechworth Asylum, this regional town joins Australia’s largest mental institution, the Aradale Lunatic Asylum in Ararat and popular Geelong Gaol as must-see ghost spots.

Touched by the hands of convicts, the walls of Geelong Gaol were built from 1849 to 1864, holding those who committed the unthinkable in the tiniest of cells. Operating for 138 years, the Geelong Gaol became the longest-running jail in Victoria before closing its doors to the region’s criminal past in 1991.

While the gaol closed its doors, Victoria’s second largest city continued to transform, with investment from the Victorian Government to make Geelong the waterfront city its known for today.

Following the launch of the Victorian Government’s Geelong City Deal in 2019, this investment brings together industry, the private sector and community to revitalise the city and regional economy, encouraging visitors to spend more time in the region.

With a total commitment of $382.48 million, the 10-year City Deal plans to boost the tourism and economic potential of Geelong and nearby Great Ocean Road region through numerous projects and initiatives including supporting indigenous, local and social employment and procurement opportunities.

As part of the investment, funding will be allocated to support Tradition Owners and ensure Wudawurrung culture is woven into the design of proposed urban development proving that while the ghosts of Geelong’s past might be forgotten, its traditional land will continue to be remembered.

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