Always putting 'Geelong first'
Today the Geelong Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest and most active independent and not-for-profit chambers in Australia – a status built on a long, proud history of representing businesses in our region.
Since 1853 the Geelong Chamber of Commerce has been unashamedly “putting Geelong first”, advocating on behalf of small, medium and large enterprises to ensure a vibrant and diverse industry base that builds on the strengths of our past and seizes future opportunities.
Founded by a group of visionary Geelong business owners, the Chamber first acted as financier to new enterprises. In 1859 the Chamber built and opened its first office in Moorabool Street - immediately south of the Chamber’s present offices – a grand, opulent building boasting two storeys and spreading across two shop frontages. It later became Geelong’s first Free Library.
Working closely with the Geelong Port, the Chamber presided over tremendous growth in commerce and trade and helped facilitate the export of local produce, particularly frozen meat exports that began in 1897. By this stage Geelong had a well-established reputation as a port for handling grain cargo.
The Chamber had grown rapidly but experienced a considerable downturn when the railway between Geelong and Melbourne was built in the 1880s. Many traders moved to chase opportunities in Melbourne and it was then that the Chamber’s 104 members voted to restructure the organisation to become the Chamber of Commerce and Manufactures – Geelong.
Over the following decades, determined business people have kept the Chamber alive to ensure there was a voice to represent business interests in Geelong and to protect the economy of the region.
In 1975, the Chamber reverted back to its original name - The Geelong Chamber of Commerce.
Today, the Chamber’s mission is still very similar to that of its origins but the environment in which we operate has changed enormously.
Now we live in a global world within a global economy, But - one thing hasn’t changed – the innovation and quality of Geelong businesses and the determination of Geelong Chamber of Commerce to protect, enhance and facilitate the strength of the economy of the Geelong region.