North Shore is a village of some 200 households sandwiched between Geelong’s Corio Bay and Geelong’s major industrial precinct.
Its neighbours include the Ford Motor Company’s product development team, Shell Refinery, Incitec Pivot’s fertiliser works, Midway forest products, Geelong Port, surfware specialist Quiksilver, Victorian Regional Channels Authority, newcomer giant Boral asphalt and cement producer, and a busy range of other industrial pursuits, warehouses and workshops.
This marriage of bayside housing, enjoying some of the best views in Geelong, living cheek by jowl with the region’s gritty, noisy industrial enterprises and wharves, charged with the task of producing much of Geelong’s manufacturing wealth and exports, has fostered some strange bedfellows.
Like much of the Northern Suburbs, North Shore is one of those places that much of Geelong prefers to ignore and forget. The industrial back streets become a convenient dumping ground for those who are lazy or prefer not to pay tip fees. Stolen cars, old refrigerators and industrial and domestic rubbish commonly was dumped along the North Shore clifftops or steered into Corio Bay.
Twenty years back, dramatic change was taking place. Residents, sick and tired of heavy industrial traffic driving through the residential area 24 x 7, formed North Shore Residents Group and lobbied the Victorian Government for a bypass road. Abery Road followed.
Around the same time, North Shore Residents Group, searching for a way to celebrate the 21st century, chose to hold a celebratory swim in Corio Bay from Moorpanyal Beach – “to the yellow stick and back!” approx.. 1000 metres. Fourteen swimmers turned up. Gradually the swim has grown and tradition with it: swimmers keep turning up, residents prepare tea and coffee, and cook prize-winning sausages for swimmers, friends and family. Nobody goes hungry. That’s why organisers of the 20th swim in 2019 expect a record entry of 200-plus.
Local industry has become part of the swim: Incitec Pivot funds caps and makes communications gear and outdoor furniture available; Midway funds the sausages; Quiksilver donates surfware and accessories; Geelong Port assists with computer recording etc; Jennings Internet maintains this web page; Neverfail sends bottled water; Victorian Regional Channels Authority assists with security coverage.
Residents tackle many pre-race and race day tasks, Geelong Volunteer Coast Guard oversees swimmer safety, Geelong Cross Country Club helps with swim detail recording. This is Corio Bay’s only open water swim – a journey to remember!