top of page
42-52 and 100 Lower Paper Mills Road, Fyansford

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:

Anchor 1

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...."

Source: On My Doorstep (No longer on-line)


"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...."

Source: On My Doorstep (No longer on-line)


"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..."

Source: Barwon Blog (2011)


"... 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....."

Source: Barwon Blog (2012)


Anchor 2

 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."

Source: On My Doorstep


"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...

Source: Australian Terrace Houses

Anchor 3

Mandatory Viewing

Anchor 4
Barwon Paper Mills.jpg
Anchor 5

The GerryKellie Martin  blog posting

Paper millpp.jpg
Paper millppp.jpg


Barwon Paper Mill

Through time...

John T Collins 

[Dec. 2, 1978]

  • Click image to open

  • Click arrows to proceed

Barwon Paper Mills



Marcus Johnson

Barwon Paper Mills.jpg

And, what says Barwon Blog


I'll bet you've not seen this lot before...

An amazing 3D project by Campbell Martin

Guess I was lucky!

Campbell's home-page

is no longer available


  • Click image to open

The second in a series of jolly jaunts with
Rambling Rod

The Fyansford Sea-mine Bunker (16 July, 2021)

Rod Morrison takes us to another little known but intriguing area within our zone
Some images also posted on Geelong History.

Did you know that during World War II, Sea mines were assembled and packed with explosive at the old Fyansford Paper Mill?

All that is left of the sea mines bunker building where the sea mines were stored, are the foundations, part of the bunker wall, and the railway tracks that led into the building from the old Fyansford Paper Mill road way.

It is interesting to note that the workers' shoes were made out of leather and with wooden soles so there would be no sparks to ignite the explosive being packed into the sea mines. As all employees shoes looked the same, to be able to identify them, each shoe made at the old Paper Mill had the employees' name embossed into the leather upper of both left and right shoes.

It is great when members of our conmunity add to the story....


  • The outer shells were manufactured at the Ford Factory (Ron Grant)

  • My late father-inlaw worked at Ford making them. They were made in the old product engineering area west of Melboure road opposite the Norlane hotel. It was known as the annex in those days.  (Jo Jerinic)

  • I believe my great grandfather's twin brother painted them at Swan Island, Queenscliff. (Daniel Cayzer)

  • Fort Queenscliff Museum has three of them.... (Helen Janner)

  • My grandfather Eric Rawson (founder and owner of Rawson Blinds) worked there during WW2. He repaired broken wooden soles!  (Ross Rawson)

Anglesea and District Historical Society  (Sea Mine, Royal Australian Navy, Estimated 1942-1945)

Sea mine.jpg
Anchor 6

It has come to my attention....


Stephen Bath, (who is on the Rotary Club of Highton old Fyansford Paper Mill Precinct Committee), has been doing some “digging” regarding the Paper Mill history.


He found the attached notifications in old copies of the Geelong Advertiser.

                                                                                                             Click link...

Paper Mills, Fyansford John Henry Harvey.jpg
Anchor 7
bottom of page