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1887 - 1941

The Gordon opened for business in 1887 in an unpretentious single-storied hall (now the Davidson Restaurant) used for lectures and exhibitions. Classroom and office space was added a year later with the building of the first of the Fenwick Street towers. A chemistry lab (now the Koori Unit) followed in 1889 and a two-storey trade shop (now the theatre) in 1890.

The centrepiece of the Fenwick Street facade was built in 1892 but the third and balancing stage, housing electrical and physics labs and architectural drafting rooms, wasn't completed until 1916. This didn't mean building had stopped. Art studios, named after former director George Hitchcock, were erected in 1910 and a (now-demolished) 1914 machine shop indicate the ever-increasing number of available courses. The post-World War I period was something of a building boom at The Gordon. Public subscription paid for the 1921 Lascelles Memorial Chemistry Building to commemorate the father of Geelong's wool trade. The Lascelles style continued in the 1928 Bostock Memorial, which comprised a lecture theatre and memorial hall, now The Gordon Gallery and executive offices.

Demand for placements in the Wool Classing course, introduced in 1891, led to further expansion. The wool sorting room was enlarged, though it was dwarfed by the Percy Everett designed 1930s Wool School and Everett's modernistic Textile College facing Gordon Avenue, which was built in 1949.By this period, The Gordon had built on all the available space on the Fenwick Street site. It was time to go west.

1941 - Today