Geelong’s new-look Western Beach Boat Yard Reserve has been officially re-opened by Mayor Bruce Harwood after an extensive restoration, that combines elements of the site’s history with modern features.

To further enhance the visitor experience of this historic site planning is underway between the City of Greater Geelong and Deakin University’s MInD Research Lab for augmented and virtual reality technology at the site, that will bring the reserve’s history to life.

At the launch Mayor Bruce Harwood visualised the historic Bathing Baths of the 1800s through the specially designed app that will be accessible through smartphones and other digital devices. The app will allow visitors to hear the sounds of the past and visually experience the buildings and the structures of the past as if they are still there.

Professor Tuba Kocaturk director of Deakin’s MInD Lab said “The technology will recall the past and create a unique sense of place at Western Beach and tell the history of Geelong, as a UNESCO City of Design, in a lively and engaging way.”

This new experience will be the first of its kind in Geelong, and among the very few in Australia, where visitors will be able to live the stories, not just observe them.

Photos: 1. Relative Greg Blunt, Deputy Mayor Peter Murrihy, Deakin University’s Tuba Kocaturk, Councillor Jim Mason, Mayor Bruce Harwood and relative Libby Hu. 2. MInD Lab research demonstration virtual reality app. 3. Professor Tuba Kocaturk, Mayor Bruce Harwood.