Norlane 3214

Norlane is a residential suburb immediately north of the Ford motor plant in Geelong. It was named after Norman Lane, a local serviceman from the district who was captured at Singapore and died working on the Burma-Thailand railway line in 1943.

The name appeared in 1947 in the Population Census, by when the Norlane-North Shore Progress Association had been formed. In that year the Housing Commission began its house-building program in Norlane, and by 1976 when its program was completed there were 2,464 Commission houses. The peak building period was 1951-7. Much of the housing was for employees at Ford, International Harvester and a phosphate works.

Over 1,200 houses were prefabricated units imported from Holland and France. Co-incidentally Norlane gathered a large Dutch community, as well as settlers from Britain. The Commissions shopping centre, Labuan Square, was opened in 1954. Areas remote from Labuan Square were serviced by mobile grocery shops in a converted bus until additional Commission shops were built in Alkira, Rose and Robin Avenues. A "pram bus" took mothers to Geelong for more extensive shopping.

Primary schools were opened in 1955 and 1962, and a high school in 1959.

There was enormous pressure on housing in the early 1950s, with residents resorting to make-do two-room dwellings, tents and partially completed dwellings. The Housing Commission provided accommodation for families unable to rent or to afford to purchase their own houses.

Norlane has two reserves with ovals and two reserves with mixed facilities adjoining Cowies Creek. In contrast to neighbouring Bell Park with several churches with Eastern European origins, most of Norlanes churches are of traditional British origin.

Norlanes median house prices in 1987 and 1996 were $43,250 and $48,250, compared with about $55,000 and $85,000 for other areas of Geelong in those years respectively.

Norlane had a census population of 347 (1947) and an estimated population of 12,098 (1971).


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