Image source: Geelong Heritage Center 

The rich heritage of Geelong’s Western Beach will be brought to life through (XR) when Deakin University MInD Lab researchers and the City of Greater Geelong create a cross-media story-telling visitor experience for the newly revitalised Waterfront Park.

Waterfront Park at the western end of the Geelong central foreshore has a diverse history. Since the establishment of Geelong in the 1800s, it was a popular leisure precinct where swimming, bathing, and rowing remained holiday pastimes for local families and visitors into the mid 1900s when it became a well recognised industrial and boat-building centre.

Despite its rich history, the physical assets remaining at Western Park are now limited and only hint at the industrial and leisure precinct of the past. Formal text and image archives are the traditional way we learn about the past but they don’t always create a lively and engaging experience for visitors.

MInD Lab design researchers will use eXtended Reality technologies that combine the real and virtual worlds to improve visitors’ experience and create a sensory experience of historic events at Geelong’s Western Beach. 

MInD Lab Director Professor Tuba Kocaturk explained “the project will be the first of its kind in Geelong, and among the very few in Australia, where visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the cultural heritage of the site and witness the rapid changes in the landscape over time. They will hear the sounds of the past and will be invited to take part themselves, building boats or diving from sea baths.”

The application of eXtended Reality will enable visitors to live the stories, not just observe them. Through immersive technology, visitors will create memories of their own and become active participants of the past. Through augmented & virtual reality as well as locative media technologies, visitors will become the characters in history and Western Park will become part of their lives and memories in an emotional and sensory way.

These eXtended Reality experience will create a unique sense of place at Western Beach and provide powerful narratives to tell the rich history of Geelong, as a UNESCO City of Design, in connection with both its tangible and intangible heritage assets.

The revitalised Waterfront Park will provide a visitor experience that will surprise and delight young and old audiences alike.

To build that experience, Deakin’s MInD Lab is asking the public to supply stories of historical and cultural significance that can be developed into narratives using XR technology. 

Share Your Stories of Geelong's Rich History

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