Welcome to a new series highlighting cities, towns, townships and localities across Victoria and drawn from material in our extensive collection at PMI.
0-4-0 saddle tank ‘Wesley B. McCann’ at Belmont on the Belmont Common Railway in Geelong some years after being retired from Fyansford. Photographer unknown, Steven Haby collection
This first post focuses on the small township of Fyansford which, nowadays, could be considered an outer western suburb of Geelong.
Named after Captain Foster Fyans who arrived in Geelong as a police magistrate in October 1837, it is located on the junction of the Barwon and Moorabool rivers.
The current population (based on the 2016 Census) is 196.
Given the age of the township is it is well known for its historic bluestone buildings including the famous Fyansford Hotel and old Hamilton Highway bridge. There are six heritage listed structures in and around Fyansford.
The proximity to water made Fyansford ideal for industry such as a flour mill established in 1845 and the Barwon Paper Mill which opened in 1876 at Buckleys Falls. In more recent times the area was well known for cement production with the silos towering over the top of the hill at Hyland Street. These silos and associated plant could be seen from most places in Geelong. A railway line was constructed to serve the plant from North Geelong railway yard and it featured one of the steepest gradients on the Victorian broad gauge network.
Australian Portland Cement, which operated the works, constructed a narrow gauge railway from the works to a new quarry nearby which was worked by a fascinating array of locomotives and featured the longest railway tunnel (prior to the City Loop) in Victoria at 1.3km in length. The railway line was closed in 1966 replaced by a conveyor and the diesel locomotive was sold to the Victorian Railways and the six steam locomotives were donated to various preservation societies.
The cement works closed in 2001 but the silos remain and have been adorned with artwork.
Number of items in the PMI collection with the subject heading Fyansford (Vic.): 4
Keyword search: 26 items (including numerous journal articles)
Local Government Area: City of Greater Geelong
Key buildings or landmarks: Fyansford Hotel, cement works silos