The Victorian Heritage Register (1999) affirms… The Barwon paper mill complex, constructed during the late 1870s comprises the original mill buildings, manager's house (1878), six workers’ cottages (1878), a stone water race with impeller, tower and stone weir. Its classification by the National Trust underlines its importance:
1) It is a testimony to Victorian manufacturers of the 1870s.
2) The then-modern mill buildings and machinery were constructed at a time of great technological change.
3) The complex remains as one of the most complete of its kind.
4) The manager's house and the workers’ cottages were designed by Geelong architect, Joseph Watts.
5) The workers’ cottages are the most significant examples of the very rare pre-world war one purpose-built company housing in Victoria.
6) The national giant Australian paper manufacturers owned the Barwon Mill from 1895 to 1929.
7) Of the seven paper mills established in Australia in the 19th century, the Barwon Mill is among the earliest paper mill ceased operation in 1923.
8) The complex has associations with a number of important early Geelong businessmen.
Source: Victorian Heritage Data Base
"This industrial complex, which was constructed mainly during the late 1870s and which comprises the original mill buildings, manager's house (1878), a row of six workers? cottages (1878), a stone water race with impeller, tower and stone weir, has both state architectural and historical significance sufficient for its inclusion on the historic buildings register...."
"Erected 1876-78 of local bluestone and brick consisting of a complex of buildings. The main buildings, several of them 2 storeys, are all built in coursed bluestone, locally quarried, with brick internal partitions and iron roofs .... There exists a tower structure which housed a water turbine wheel, although there is no evidence of the remains of the turbine wheel...."
"Unlike today, paper-making processes in the Victorian era - and for 2000 years beforehand - relied on the pulping of old rags, rather than that of wood fibres and the Barwon Paper Mill was no different in this respect. The rags went through a number of treatments designed to break the fibres into small enough pieces to be formed into paper..."
"... the Barwon Paper Mill and its associated water race both of which still stand today on the Barwon, were built quite some years later in 1875 and are located a few hundred metres downstream from Highett's flour mill and on the opposite bank....."
Fyansford Workers' Cottages
42 Lower Paper Mills Road
Fyansford, Victoria, Australia
"The workers cottages are the earliest known and most significant examples of the very rare pre-world war one purpose-built company housing in Victoria, particularly following the destruction of the nestle cottages at Dennington, near Warrnambool .... the Barwon Paper Mill cottages are of special interest as examples of the influence on Australian design history of British model industrial estates like Lever bros. Port Sunlight and Cadbury Bros. Bourneville."
"This row of six single storey double fronted workers cottages was built between 1878 and 1879 in local bluestone and designed by Joseph Watts as part of the historic Barwon Paper Mill Victorian era industrial complex and a rare example of British model company housing.... The row has a single long gable roof which extends to form an east facing verandah, lacking any visible party walls and each terrace is marked by plain and asymmetrically placed unrendered brick chimneys. Each house has a central door and a double hung six panel windows on either side.... The plan of these buildings is particularly interesting, with the main quarters being physically separated from the kitchen and outbuildings by internal courtyards flanking a covered hallway. Beyond them, to the rear of the block is an intact row of stables or mews...
By Nicholas Searle
The GerryKellie Martin blog posting
Barwon Paper Mill
John T Collins
[Dec. 2, 1978]
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