The locality of Avalon, situated north east of Geelong, is notable for Avalon Airport, which is also the site of the biennial Avalon International Airshow, the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Although located on the outskirts of Geelong, the airport effectively operates as a second airport for the much larger city of Melbourne. Avalon is 50 kmto the south-west of the state capital Melbourne and 15 km north-east of the city of Geelong.
In 2005 businessman Lindsay Fox launched plans to attract Australia's first Disneyland theme park to the area. A Direct Factory Outlets shopping centre has also been proposed for the area.
Avalon Raceway (also known as Avalon Speedway) is a dirt track racing venue located in the area.
In 2010 the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport was granted funding for a feasibility study to build a world class motorsports facility in the area, with the $200 million race circuit intended to become the home of the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix after the contract to host the race at Albert Park expires in 2015.
When established in 2004 Jetstar Airways has its headquarters on the grounds of Avalon Airport in Avalon, but has since relocated to the Melbourne CBD.
Major industry in the area includes a factory producing concrete railway sleepers, and the Cheetham Saltworks.
Avalon Airport is the second busiest of the four airports serving Melbourne (in passenger traffic). The airport's location between Melbourne and Geelong makes it both a capital city airport and a regional airport, servicing a large regional catchment in western Victoria and providing connections to tourism destinations such as the Great Ocean Road. The airport has a single runway in addition to a helipad.
Since Linfox Group s purchase of the airport in 1997, Avalon Airport s aviation operations have grown significantly as it has established itself as a second gateway to the Melbourne and Geelong regions. Today, the airport contains land and facilities that are surplus to current and projected aviation requirements. This provides the opportunity to pursue property development projects for a wider range of activities, which support Avalon Airport s growth as an airport and as a major employment centre for the region.
Avalon is currently served by one passenger airline, Jetstar Airways, which started domestic flights in 2004. The airport is also leased by Qantas as a heavy maintenance facility, operates freight and ground handling services and is the site of the biennial Australian International Airshow.
Unlike Melbourne Airport, which is governed by the Commonwealth Airports Act, Avalon Airport falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defence, and is privately leased by Linfox Group.
The airport is located on land of the original indigenous owners, the Wuthaurung People, and a scatter stone area is preserved on the Avalon Airport site, out of respect for the original owners. The land has undergone many changes over the past century. The site was a sheep and cattle farm and homestead, founded by James Austin, an immigrant from Glastonbury, Somerset, England. James established his farm and named the homestead 'Avalon' after the isle of Avalon at Glastonbury, the mythical island in the Arthurian legend. In 1952 the Commonwealth Government bought 4,333 acres at Avalon for just 110 pounds, as the land was deemed to be of poor quality farmland due to the abundance of volcanic rock littering the surface.
The airport was opened in 1953, to cater for the production of military aircraft. Previously, the Government Aircraft Factories at Fisherman's Bend, Melbourne had used a runway beside the factory. However, newer jet aircraft required a longer runway for safe operations, and the Fisherman's Bend runway was being encroached upon by development.
The first scheduled passenger flights out of the airport were operated by Hazelton Airlines, who commenced flights between Avalon Airport and Sydney in February 1995. 36-seat Saab 340 aircraft were used for the service. The service was discontinued after a short time due to a lack of passengers.
The Australian International Airshow commenced operations from Avalon Airport. The project is owned by Aviation Development Australia Limited. The airport hosts the event bi-annually, with the event attracting a total attendance of over 195,000 across the six days, including exhibitors from the international aerospace industry and government, military, scientific and trade delegates.