Kim barne thaliyu, meaning ‘here yesterday’ in Wadawurrung, is Victoria’s largest regional archive and heritage resource centre.
Our collection comprises public and private records including newspapers, maps, plans, photographs, catalogues and indexes from the Bellarine, the Golden Plains, the Surf Coast, the Borough of Queenscliffe and beyond.
We are located on the lands of the Wadawurrung people, and we hold items in our collection of cultural significance for Wadawurrung and other First Nations people.
You can view some of our collection online here. Our complete collection can be viewed in person on level 3 of the Geelong Library & Heritage Centre, 51 Little Malop Street, Geelong.
Our team of specialist staff are here to help. For all enquires and assistance, send us a message, call 03 4201 0630 or visit us in person during our opening hours.
Admission to Kim barne thaliyu / Geelong Heritage Centre is free, as is access to our reference library and archive collections.
There is no need to book but please email HeritageCentre@grlc.vic.gov.au at least two business days prior to your visit with the details of the items you would like to view and the date and time you plan to visit.
Kim barne thaliyu, meaning ‘here yesterday’ in Wadawarrung, is the archive and heritage resource centre for Geelong and surrounding regions, taking in Wurdi Youang and extending as far west as Eastern Maar Country.
Kim barne thaliyu / Geelong Heritage Centre acknowledge the Wadawarrung and Eastern Maar people as the Original Owners of the lands, waters, and skies where we operate. We pay respect to Wadawarrung and Eastern Maar Elders past and present as custodians of learning, literacy, knowledge, and story.
For tens of thousands of years prior to the creation of the written records that make up the bulk of the Kim barne thaliyu / Geelong Heritage Centre collection, Wadawarrung and Eastern Maar people developed their own sophisticated methods for sharing knowledge across generations.
Despite colonisation, Wadawarrung and Eastern Maar people have kept their language, culture, and heritage alive, and they are still practiced today.
During the early colonial period, the site where Kim barne thaliyu / Geelong Heritage Centre now stands was used for the Geelong Volunteer Fire Brigade Station (built in 1857). It was removed in 1918 as part of improvements to Johnstone Park. A garden inhabited the site until construction began on the new municipal library in 1958.
In 1951, the Geelong Historical Records Centre was established as a memorial to two historic events: the centenary of the separation of Victoria from New South Wales and the 50th Jubilee of Federation. The citizens of Geelong raised the capital funds for the centre with the express wish that it be the repository for local historical records.
The centre first opened to the public in 1979 and, with the help of a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, collected and sorted all manner of archival material. They transferred popular records to microfilm, catalogued and indexed public and private collections, and attracted more and more researchers until the centre became the largest regional archive and heritage resource centre in Victoria.
In 2003, the Geelong Historical Records Centre became the Geelong Heritage Centre (Kim barne thaliyu) and entered a new era of technology. New research techniques and methods of accessing and synthesising information were embraced. In recent years large-scale digitising projects have been undertaken to provide easier access to records and to help preserve original archival material.
Kim barne thaliyu / Geelong Heritage Centre continues to strive towards making our collections more accessible than ever before.
Our collection is a unique recorded history of Geelong and the Bellarine, the Golden Plains, the Surf Coast, the Borough of Queenscliffe and beyond. Countless memories and stories live on in our carefully managed collection of public and private records, newspapers, maps, plans, photographs, and extensive catalogues and indexes.
You can search our catalogue and view our image library online. Please note only part of our collection is visible online.
See here for tips on how to search. You can also contact our specialist staff for assistance. Contact us online or call 03 4201 0630 during opening hours.
When searching online, we recommend you record item details including title and reference code (GRS). This will help us respond to your inquiries.
When you visit us in person, our specialist staff can help you search and view our collections. Upon request, we are also able to provide a more private space for viewing.
Genealogy – postal directories, rate books, church and cemetery registers, births, deaths and marriages, immigration lists and biographical registers;
Local history – public and private records produced by government, businesses, groups and individuals;
Reference works – Geelong and District historical publications and general Victorian historical works;
Newspapers – Geelong Advertiser 1840 to date, other Geelong newspapers, incomplete runs of ephemeral publications from 1850-1923, Colac Herald 1895-1945;
Maps and Plans – subdivisional, dwelling and rural sales notices and parish plans from 1850-1990s covering area of Geelong and west to the South Australian border;
Images – countless thousands of photographs, drawings and paintings depicting the life and times of Geelong from the 1830s to present day.
Our specialist team are available to answer any research inquiries and support you accessing the collection.
We can offer support online, over the phone 4201 0630, and in person.
One-on-one sessions with our heritage specialists are available and designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills to undertake research at Kim barne thaliyu/Geelong Heritage Centre. You can book your session here or please get in contact during opening hours for assistance.
Research support from our specialist staff and access to the Kim barne thaliyu / Geelong Heritage Centre collection are free.
If you would like research to be undertaken on your behalf, professional research services are available for a fee.
Contact us with your inquiry providing full details including the subject matter, the records you already have on hand and the research you have undertaken to date. Our staff will advise on both the extent of free research available and professional research fees that may apply.
Please note that we have items in our First Nations collection that are culturally sensitive. If you would like to know which items are culturally sensitive, please ask our staff.
If you need a private space to view records, please let a member of our staff know and this can be arranged.
Additional records and research support are available at the Koorie Records Unit and the Koorie Heritage Trust.
For assistance with any research inquiries, contact our specialist staff online, call 03 4201 0630, or visit us during opening hours.
Local history publications for sale
Since opening in 1979 as the Geelong Historical Records Centre, we have grown significantly and today manage a major Australian regional collection. In 2014, our collection was formally recognised as being nationally significant by a National Library of Australia-funded Collection Significance Assessment.
We are also custodians of a significant First Nations collection. In 2019, Kim barne thaliyu / Geelong Heritage Centre received a Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) Local History grant for a Significance Assessment and Perspectives Plan from a First Nations’ perspective. Our First Nations collection is catalogued with a cultural sensitivity rating.
Since 2015 Kim barne thaliyu / Geelong Heritage Centre has been part of the Geelong Regional Library Corporation (GRLC). We are governed by the GRLC Board and have a Collection Advisory Committee which provides collection-related advice to the GRLC Board as required.
Kim barne thaliyu / Geelong Heritage Centre has enjoyed an enduring relationship with Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) since 1979. We are classified as a PROV ‘Class A’ Place of Deposit and therefore can manage, preserve and make accessible permanent public records.
We house a large collection of items owned by the Geelong Historical Society, an organisation passionately enhancing appreciation of Geelong’s history since its formation in 1944.
Our Collection Advisory Committee provides Kim barne thaliyu / Geelong Heritage Centre collection-related advice and recommendations to the Geelong Regional Library Corporation Board.
Our committee consists of representatives of the City of Greater Geelong Council, Surf Coast Shire Council, Borough of Queenscliffe, Golden Plains Shire Council, Kim barne thaliyu / Geelong Heritage Centre, Public Record Office Victoria, Geelong Historical Society, National Council of Women – Geelong branch and four community representatives.
Nominations of community applicants for membership of the Kim barne thaliyu / Geelong Heritage Centre Collection Advisory Committee are called by public notice in local newspapers and representatives are appointed for a period of two years. Appointments of community representatives are made following a recruitment process undertaken by a selection panel consisting of the Chief Executive Officer, Geelong Regional Library Corporation, Manager, Kim barne thaliyu / Geelong Heritage Centre and a member of the Collection Advisory Committee who is a current Council appointment from the City of Greater Geelong, Borough of Queenscliffe, Golden Plains Shire or Surf Coast Shire.
The Kim barne thaliyu / Geelong Heritage Centre Collection Advisory Committee is made up of the following representatives:
Cr. Garry Allen, Surf Coast Shire Council
Cr. Ross Ebbels, Borough of Queenscliffe
Cr. Peter Murrihy, City of Greater Geelong Council
Cr. Les Rowe, Golden Plains Shire Council
Jillian Adams, community representative
Lana Capon, Secretary Geelong Historical Society
Charlie Farrugia, Public Record Office Victoria
Padraic Fisher, Director National Wool Museum (Proxy representative for Manager Arts & Culture City of Greater Geelong)
Ann Horn, community representative
Jan Kinloch, National Council of Women – Geelong Branch
Jennifer Lehman, community representative
Martin Paten, Manager Arts & Culture City of Greater Geelong Council
Permission to access an item that has been assessed as culturally sensitive to First Nations Peoples may be granted upon special request.
To request special access, please complete the special request form.
Special access requests will be shared with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation for advice and direction.
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