Rise of the Wool Industry

in Geelong



The City of Geelong, middle of the 19th century. Courtesy of the State Library Victoria

The rise of wool industry and the development of the port town of Geelong could be dated back as early as 1836, when the first lot of sheeps were offloaded in Point Henry along the Corio bay.The first European settlers to the area arrived in mid 1830s, with both John Cowie and David Stread arriving from Tasmania to farm sheep in 1836...


Architecture of the First Wool Stores

in Geelong
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One of the first wool stores in Geelong area, Ararat Wool store built in 1874. Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria: John T. Collins, 1982

Since wool became booming industry for Geelong, the space for wool store became premium and hence in the next decade, an ad hoc collection of wool stores and warehouses assembled on and near the Geelong waterfront...



The Rise of

C.J. Dennys and E.H. Lascelles Wool Business



Edward Harewood Lascelles

Edward Harewood Lascelles

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Charles Dennys

Courtesy of the Victorian Collection 

In 1858, an aspiring wool broker and local merchant Charles John Dennys (1817-1898) planned to establish a local wool mart. In 1864, Dennys took into partnership his nephew Martin Lascelles Dennys and four years later another nephew, Edward Harewood Lascelles (1847-1917). When M.L. Dennys retired in 1875, the firm took the title of Dennys, Lascelles and Co. C.J. Dennys and Co...


The First Wool Store

in Geelong

C. J. Dennys and Co. Wool store Moorabool Street, Geelong after 1880. Courtesy of the Geelong Historical Records Centre and Victorian Collection



Dennys first engaged local architect Jacob Pitman to prepare plans for his new wool store early in 1871, but dismissed him sometime soon after August 1871, when his call for tenders for excavation of the basement of Dennys' wool house was first advertised. The Ballarat contractor­cum-architect Jonathon Coulson took over the Dennys and Co. project and completed the stone structure by August 1872...


The New Wool Store

Bow Truss Building



By the end of 1905 the firm of Dennys, Lascelles, Austin and Co. had become one of the largest wool industry in Geelong in terms of the size of the building as well as the annual wool trade. A contemporary description referred to their buildings standing close to the wharves and connected to the railways by a private siding, as constituting “one of the finest and most complete warehouses in Australia.”...


Interior view showing the saw-tooth roof in place taken before the diagonal tension members and the bottom chord were cast in concrete. E. H. Lascelles (left) standing with an unknown party (possibly E. G. Stone).


Interior of the factory. Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria



of the New Wool Store



Early in 1910, the ad hoc collection of timber and corrugated iron buildings to the west of the main wool stores and fronting Corio and Clare Streets were removed to allow to commence the project. By July the concrete casting had reached above second floor  level.  To ensure that the building was completed in time for the next wool season, the work often continued into the night under portable electric lights...


The Bow Truss Building construction process. Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

The Bow Truss Building construction process. Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria


The Landmark

in the Urban Landscape of Geelong
Arial images of Geelong showing the dominancy of the Bow Truss Building in broader urban context
1938  Aerial (Pratt)

At an urban scale, the New Wool Store building forms a dominant presence - due to its sheer size - being the second largest wool-store in the region. In addition to it, the lack of any other building of this scale adds to its dominance into the area too. The dominant scale of Dennys Lascelles Building in the skyline of Geelong at a prominent location in Geelong close to the port manifests how it has acted as a significant landmark for the urban landscapes of Geelong...



Arial images of Geelong showing the dominancy of the Bow Truss Building in broader urban context.

Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria: Charles Daniel Pratt, 1930 and 1938


The Life and Demise

of the New Wool Store

The last images of the building interior showing the construction details. Courtesy of Miles Lewis



Dennys, Lascelles Ltd successfully operated from their Geelong wool store complex until 1977 when the firm was absorbed into the Elders IXL fold. Although the 1910-1912 wool store was at the time of construction considered fireproof and virtually unassailable, the salty coastal environment and the increasingly noxious industrial atmosphere on Corio Bay gradually took its toll...



Dr Md Mizanur Rashid
Dr Chin Koi Khoo
Dr Surabhi Pancholi
Dr Sofija Kaljevic