"There are still several significant sites in the area relating to William Buckley, such as the Buckley Park Foreshore Reserve near Point Lonsdale, where it is said Buckley hid in the cave on the beach. There is also the Buckley Falls at Geelong. Buckley spent a lot of time at the falls. The Barwon River breaks into several rivulets just before the falls so it was a great place for trapping fish and water fowl. This was one of the first places Buckley took white settlers to see.....’
By Mary Ryllis Clark, Discover Historic Victoria, 1996
Other worthwhile Information Sources:
Ian Wynd in "Barrabool ~ Land of the Magpie" (1992) reported how John Helder Wedge, former member of the Survey Department in Van Diemen's Land, in August, 1835, while exploring areas around Corio Bay, descended to the junction of two rivers in modern-day Fyansford. He named "the one coming from the west the Worragong (the Barwon) and the one from the north-east the Yaloke (the Moorabool); the river below the junction he named the Barwoune. About a quarter of a mile above the confluence of the two rivers Wedge came across two waterfalls, the first and smaller he named Buckley Falls, for the other he used its native name - Banyu Willock (also spelt Booneawillock). At the falls he crossed to the south bank and followed the river along the foot of the Barrabull Hills for five or six miles. He noted that the hills afforded 'fine pasturage for sheep'...." (p.4-5).
* I read somewhere that Yaloke was Aboriginal word for 'woody'.
William Buckley The Age Sat 29 Jul 1911 Page 4
Portrait of William Buckley published in The news letter of Australasia.
Frederick Grosse - engraver
Nicholas Chevalier - artist (Ca 1850s)
Print: wood engraving.
From the State Library of Victoria's Pictures Collection.
State Library of Victoria
"Rectangular concrete slab in the middle of a gully heading into the Barwon River at Buckley's Falls. The slab has three raised, rectangular mounts for machinery and there are the remains of a wall to the north east of the building. The creek has been diverted by a race and enters the Barwon to the south west of the site. There is also evidence in the fabric for pipes being mounted...." Source: On My Doorstep
Buckley Falls Pumping Station
(Published by Barwon Region Water Authority in 2005)
“Drought led to the decision to construct a pumping station on the Barwon river at Buckley Falls"
“Trust began using three pumps to transfer water from a weir built across the Barwon River, near Buckley Falls, into the Montpellier service basins”
1928 Pumping from Buckley Falls pumping station recommenced”
1929 Trust complained about the quality of the water from the water from the Barwon system
1931 “Temporary weir at Buckley Falls dismantled"
1933 "The emergency pumping station was removed"
Barwon River Deaths
14-year old Frederick Collins
Geelong Advertiser, 1893 (TROVE)
Ernest Dew and William Sheargold
Herald Sun 2012
Geelong Gaol Ghost Tours 2013
And, often, unfortunately,
in the midst of beauty there is tragedy...
A poem written by W. Stitt Jenkins (1812-1878) describes the tragedy.
One of the six verses reads:
“Ah! winding Barwon! fatal stream
That looked so smiling on that day!
Could they e’er think that sudden death
Within that placid bosom lay.
Alas the weeds , the clinging weeds
Dragged James & Ernest deep below
And in an instant happy homes
Were plunged in all the gloom of woe”
Reference ~ Tragic Losses...
near where Ernest Scholes and James Hillard drowned in 1866.
The GerryKellie Martin Contribution
A while back I received a lovely bundle of goodies from "GerryKellie Martin" which will be used as a focus over the next however-many days.
From what I have gleaned from subsequent Messenging Kellie grew up in our district; her parents owning “Bellinya“ or button hill, next door to the old paper mill for 40 years. Kellie lived there for 16 years and her dad was Harrie Grey (Some in our community might have memories of the family). She now lives in Texas USA (Small world ~ My wife, Mary, hails from Kansas and we have a daughter in Dallas, Texas). Kellie's husband, Gerry, is retired after having spent 25 years of service in the United States Coast Guard. Their daughter is currently in the Coast Guard.
Included within the eye-watering 1983 bundle of goodies was a fact-filled document with an accompanying map. This will be the centre of my attention for the next however-many days. It is just so good when members of our community dig into their family resources for sharing.
The map, the origin of which I have no knowledge, will hopefully rekindle a few nearly-lost memories.
Click to open
Use arrows to move back or forward
Victorian Heritage Database
Victorian Heritage Database
Reference: Living BY Water by Leigh Edmonds (PDF)
Marcus Wong 2007
... a lot of conjecture...
Still by far the best resource for investigating further the history of this area ~
Jo Mitchell's Barwon Blog Grist to the mill.. (1 July, 2011).
I suggest interested parties take the time to read the many community comments following Jo's blog;
'though it may lead to more questions than answers.
In this link Commentary on Jo's Blog I have edited comments to those I found particularly thought-provoking. I feel it was such a shame nobody followed -up on Mr. Harold Baum's invitation..
You might be interested in reading
Nov., 2013 pp22-23
Baum Weir or Baum’s Weir?
I'm a paragraph.
Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.
“Baum Weir was built in 1851 to create a constant level for the river enabling water to flow along two bluestone races and generate power for the Barwon Paper Mill. The area a little upstream of Baum's Weir was known to the Wathaurong people as Boonea Yallock meaning a place to catch eels. The deeper water provides a haven for Pacific Black Ducks, Eurasian Coots, Ibis and other water birds. Along the water’s edge the secretive Nankeen Night Heron or White Faced Heron might be seen poised to take any small fish that pass within reach. “ (Conservation Volunteers)
Jo Mitchell's Barwon Blog ~ What’s in a name? June, 2011, indirectly gives the answer.
An anonymous commentary on Jo’s blog (14 July, 2013) adds some clarification: The weir was.... "Named after Gottfried Baum once owned the land from south of Barwon River to Waurn Ponds.
I spoked to Ken Baum last week about my parent property back in 1930's. He's descendant to Gottfried still living in an old brick house built in 1857". (Anonymous)
#6 Baum's Weir & Water Race
Daniel Dendy (Nov 16, 2018)
The Baum Weir (built in 1851) created a constant level for the river enabling water to flow along two bluestone races and generate power for the Barwon Paper Mill.
Click image to open
Barwon Blog (19 March, 2017) Paddling the Barwon - Part 2
Baum's Weir to Fyansford
Between the weir and Fyansford, the river flows over a basalt (bluestone) base and is generally shallow and rocky for a distance of about 1.5km. Much of the water is diverted into the water race constructed for the Barwon Paper Mill in the 1870s. Whilst the mill no longer uses it as a power supply, the water still runs via the race making levels on the river bed too low for convenient paddling at most times.
Bunyip Pool looking upstream, November, 2013
The exception is during periods of flooding when more experienced paddlers often brave the torrent which pours down over the weir and through Buckley Falls in order to ride the rapids. A second smaller weir also dams the flow of the river immediately upstream of the Bunyip Pool.
I have not currently tackled this section, in part because there is pedestrian access along both banks throughout this section which is predominantly parkland.
In flood. Looking upriver from the Bunyip Pool, January, 2011
Jo - in action
Annie Pape 10 July 2021
Dianne Higgins Geelong Advertiser 26 June 2021
Annie Pape 10 July 2021
Our "man-on-the-ground" Rambling Rod Morrison reported 27.6.2021
Last week, I had heard from a Fyansford local, that Baums Weir may have been breached. This was the case as there was an article and photo in today’s Geelong Advertiser.
This afternoon, I decided to walk to Baums Weir to check it out.
It is a disaster. As a result of the breach, the water channel from Baums Weir to the old Fyansford Paper Mill has virtually no water in it, and no flow whatsoever. What this means that unless the breached weir is repaired, people will never again see water flowing over the Spillway at the old Fyansford Paper Mill. Below are a few photos I took of the breached Baums Weir and the water channel. I believe that the breached wall at Baums Weir must be repaired as, as the water flowing over the Spillway is a very good tourist attraction. The old Fyansford Paper Mill and surrounding buildings, including the Workers Bluestone Cottages are Heritage Listed.
Many, many people love and visit this area, and I am sure that they would like to see the old Paper Mill spillway flowing again, like in the below photo when the paper mill was in operation.
I believe that it the City of Greater Geelong must repair the breach in Baums Weir. Sooner, rather than later....
For the best ever pre and post weir-break videos
click Clive Rose
#7 Finally, the last of a great bunch
As well as all the Barwon Paper Mill information, GerryKellie Martin sent me some photos from the 1989 flood (!) and the cover of what looks to be an interesting
Shire of Bannockburn project.
I'll post them here in the hope someone might be able to add to the picture.
Buckley Falls development, Fyansford, May 1983 / prepared by Shire of Bannockburn.
Buckley Falls Project
Bannockburn (Vic. : Shire). Council
Bannockburn, Vic. : The Council, 1983.
Apparently, this is at the Deakin Library.
I'll have to check it out.
The Barwon River Precinct
The Geelong Advertiser has this fascinating bit of local lore in the paper this week.
Devil's Pool, the Bunyip Hole - the Barwon River precinct at Queens Park better known as Buckley Falls, for the British convict who lived with Aborigines for 32 years - has long hosted an unusual rocky cascade, water race and remnants of a long-gone industry.
That's not to mention enough snakes among its rocks to make anyone nervous on a warm summer's day. But as a picturesque riverside scene it is difficult to match the bluestone, red brickwork and craggy texture of the former paper mills that operated at Buckley Falls from 1878 to 1923.
At its height, the mill employed 200 people, making paper from not just wood pulp but rags, sacking, used paper, rope ends and other species of refuse to make some 40 different types of paper for writing, printing, wrapping, blotting and more.
It was set up by Robert Miller, at a cost of between 40,000 and 50,000, as the Barwon Paper Mill. It underwent various changes of ownership; in 1888 to Victorian paper Manufacturing Company and two years later again to H.L. Littlewood & Co.
The mill buildings lay unoccupied from 1923 to 1929 after which the Hydro Manufacturing Company ran iceworks and cool storage until the war years. More recent years have seen them utilised as factoriettes for a variety of trades pursuits.
The 3/4-mile water race to a Belfast-manufactured turbine that generated some 300 horsepower of cheap electricity to the mill was constructed by 30 men who blasted their way through solid rock, presumably oblivious to the devil or bunyip allusions of the pool. Had they been aware of local bunyip lore, however, they might have been a tad nervous. For some years earlier, in the 1840s, a bunyip scare struck fear into the fledgling Geelong settlement.
As this newspaper reported in 1845: "We have been favoured by Mr Menzies with the inspection of a petrified bone found on the shores of Lake Timboon to the westward of Lake Colac.
"The bone is apparently the head of the tibia, or lower joint of the knee. The dimensions of this fragment of bone are of the most colossal nature, measuring as it does 10 inches across the front of the knee (in diameter, not circumference)."
On being shown to an "intelligent black" it was "at once recognised ... as belonging to the bunyip". This was corroborated with several other Aborigines.
No big deal, you might have thought, but next came detailed reports of several bestial attacks on animals: a mare at Little River, a mutilated cow near Barwon Heads. Bunyip fever whipped through the area. And purported attacks further afield even led scientists of the day to study and speculate on the Timboon bone. Hysteria peaked in 1847-48 when a bunyip "skull' was found in a stream near the Murrumbidgee River.
But the scientists were never able to corroborate any bunyip. Speculation has since ranged from seals to bitterns to diprotodons but the creature has remained steadfastly untouchable - and consigned to history as much as Robert Miller's operations next to the Bunyip Pool.