Fyansford 3221

Fyansford, near the junction of the Moorabool and Barwon Rivers, is 5 km. west of Geelong.

It is one of the earliest places of settlement in the Geelong region. It was named after Captain Foster Fyans who came to Geelong as Police magistrate in October, 1837, and established his police camp near where the Barwon River could be forded - hence Fyan's Ford. In 1843 the Fyanstown (later Swan) Inn was built, and it is on the Register of the National Estate. Two more hotels, the Fyansford and the Balmoral, were opened in 1854. They still stand, one being the Balmoral Art Gallery. Patronage of the three hotels was ensured by their being on one of the two routes between Geelong and Ballarat.

A flour mill with a water race from the Barwon river was opened in 1844, and a Catholic school opened in 1849. In 1854 the ford was superseded by a bridge over the Moorabool river, connecting Geelong with Ballarat and the Western District. A orphan asylum overlooking Fyansford was opened in 1861, set in a valley mostly occupied by orchards, vineyards and other horticulture. In the following decade, however, other industry came to Fyansford with a paper mill (1876) and the Geelong Cement Works (1889). The Barwon Paper Mill used the flour-mill water race near Buckley's Falls and continued production until 1923. The Mill's buildings are on the Victorian Heritage Register. A State primary school replaced earlier schools in 1877.

In 1900 the timber bridge was replaced with one built with Monier reinforced concrete by Monash and Anderson. An early example of its type, it is on the Victorian Heritage Register.

During the early 1900s a postcard view of Fyansford across the river was often depicted, showing industry and the bridge. Industry has continued to be Fyansford's hallmark, with a quarry, pre-mix and concrete supplies, and a waste-disposal depot. The Balmoral Art Gallery and the school (winner of a curriculum-innovation award in 1989), have offered another view. The school, however, closed in 1996.

Fyansford's census populations have been 227 (1861), 134 (1901), 189 (1933) and 238 (1961).


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