Shepparton pips Geelong: Verdant valley versus apocalyptic wasteland

By Geoff Adams

The news that Geelong rated behind Shepparton in livability in a recent survey seemed to surprise our colleagues at the Geelong Advertiser newspaper.

They expressed disdain that we could be enjoying a better lifestyle than the city on the bay.

So, I thought it might be worthwhile to explore some of the reasons why Shepparton is more livable than Geelong.

Some history

In January 1803, Surveyor-General Charles Grimes arrived at Port Phillip in the sloop Cumberland and mapped the area, but reported it was unfavourable for settlement and returned to Sydney.

We are not part of Melbourne

Geelong was originally surveyed only three weeks after Melbourne, but just could not grow as quickly.

Recently I had cause to drive from Melbourne to Geelong, and having not done so for many years I thought there would be a pleasant break in between.

See some countryside, perhaps. Not really. Hardly any relief from rows and rows of housing and kilometres of traffic.

So when does Geelong become another suburb of Melbourne? Fairly soon, I would think.


Geelong has recorded more than double the number of criminal incidents than Shepparton has in the past financial year.

A report on regional crime in the 1970s found that Geelong had a similar incidence of crime as Canberra.

This was considered a sleight on Canberra.

We will soon have the first cannabis farm in the state, but the difference between us and Geelong is that our growers are legal. Our crops will be grown under hydroponics, not fluorescent lighting.

To quote from our brethren at the Geelong Advertiser in 2015: “…crime has been a constant in the story of Geelong.”


While the city of Geelong boasts its own AFL team, it still can’t host an AFL final because there is nowhere big enough to host the other team’s supporters.

Meanwhile, Shepparton gets a preseason AFL match (incidentally featuring the premiers from earlier this year).

No doubt Geelong will claim to get into the finals once they can get over the unfortunate habit of losing after a bye.

Good governance

In 2016, the Victorian Government dismissed the Mayor and Councillors of Greater Geelong City Council following a Commission of Inquiry which found that the council was riven with conflict.


The final scenes of a 1959 movie about the end of the world, On the Beach, were filmed near Geelong and that other apocalyptic film, Mad Max, also found the district was great for a backdrop.

Yep, certainly right up there on the livability scale.

- Geoff Adams, who is not considering moving to Geelong any time soon...