What is a bollard you might ask?  Those with seafaring knowledge will know a bollard is a short, thick post on the deck of a ship or on a wharf, to which a ship’s rope may be secured.

I was on culture mode at the National Gallery of Victoria to see Monet’s Garden, an amazing selection of more than 60 canvases by Claude Monet, the father of French Impressionism. The exhibition charts his most famous period from 1883 when he lived in Giverny, France and closes on 8 September.

Monet reminded me of a unique experience in France earlier this year set in a disused quarry, Carriers de Lumieres  – Les Baux-de-Provence, the multi-media show  “Monet, Renoir….Chagall: Journeys around the Mediterranean”. We were totally immersed in images projected onto all the surfaces of the rock. The ground is completely covered, too, and becomes a vast carpet of images; think of Monet’s lilies moving under your feet.

Now back to my bollard adventure, and to my surprise I was told there are bollards in and around Geelong.  Geelong is a comfortable one-hour train journey from Melbourne (return economy fare $15.60). A short drive from station to the bay area we parked near Corio Villa: an interesting story.

Corio Villa is a prefabricated iron house manufactured in Scotland and shipped to Australia in the early 1850’s. The house overlooking Corio Bay was assembled in 1856. Apparently ‘Corio Villa’ is the only prefabricated house of its type in Australia or possibly the world!

A short walk down hill from Corio Villa I found my first bollards – the lifesavers and car rally picnic couple.

In 1995 Jan Mitchell (1940-2008), a Melbourne born artist, was commissioned by the City of Greater Geelong to transform reclaimed timber pier pylons into these remarkable works of art. The bollards are located along the waterfront beaches from Limeburner’s Point to Rippleside Park.

The next day after a scrumptious green eggs and ham breakfast at the Star Fish Bakery at Barwon Heads we found the bollard soldiers. I understand these were the first bollards created by Jan Mitchell.

A French Impressionist and a Geelong Artist: appreciating the cultural spectrum.

There are over 100 brightly coloured bollards in and around Geelong – so many more to see!




Geelong Bollards Trail



Star Fish Bakery

78 Hitchcock Ave

Barwon Heads         VIC

Tel: 03 52542772


Corio Villa

56 Eastern Beach,

Geelong VIC



National Gallery of Victoria

180 St Kilda Rd

Southbank VIC 3006

Tel: (03) 8620 2222



Carrieres  de Lumieres

Baux de Provence, France