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Fyansford's Quarries!

Links with a busy past...

Can anyone throw more light on this part of Fyansford's history?

Back in the early days

Les Chisholm’s quarry down by Baums weir; thought to be the first bluestone quarry in the area; one which didn’t last long as there were faults in the rock.

However, a considerable amount of material was removed at a cost of 6 pence / cubic yard (for anything taken out).

Baums Weir.jpg

Google Earth

Can anyone tell us anything about this quarry?

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Current Fyansford Tip

Nichterlein's quarry (sometime before 1970) Lower Paper Mills Road, Fyansford

"This small basalt quarry in a Newer Volcanics valley flow was situated south of the Hamilton Highway at Fyansford. It was in operation from about 1925 until the 1980s, producing crushed stone for concrete and road-making. In 2010 the site began to be used for waste disposal and recycling."

Source: Hudson Institute of Mineralogy

Our Quarries

It seems to me that there were essentially three types of quarries within the Batesford / Fyansford locality:

  • limestone quarries (Quarry maps 1 & 2)

  • sandstone quarries (Quarry maps 3 & 4)

  • bluestone quarries (Quarry maps 5 & 6)

Limestone Quarries

The Batesford quarry, just a few kilometres west of Geelong, is situated and between the Midland Hwy and Fyansford-Gheringhap roads and next to the Geelong ring road. It comprises approximately 900 hectares in area and has a perimeter of close to 5 kilometres. During its lifetime over 100 million tonnes of limestone and overburden has been excavated from the site.

Sandstone Quarries

I can't find any info about these quarries. Can you help?

Bluestone Quarries

There were two Fyansford basalt quarries, both located immediately west of the township:

  • Mobile Quarries – situated north of Hamilton highway (Quarry map 5)

  • Nichterlein's quarry – situated south of Hamilton highway (Quarry map 6)

Both quarries exploited a bed of bluestone (basalt) dating back to the Pliocene era, i.e. around 2 million years old, and produced a range of crushed rock products including blue metal, toppings, crushed rock, screenings and sand.

For the latest  Google Earth images


Click image to view gallery

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Limestone Quarries

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Peter McCann (1828-1908), an English stone mason and his family settled in Ceres, west of Geelong after discovering excellent sandstone deposits suitable for quarrying around the dog rocks area. In 1888 he purchased 1200 acres of land in Batesford with the intention of manufacturing cement.

In 1890 he established Australian Portland Cement Ltd. He transported the limestone the 3.5miles from his quarry on the banks of the Moorabool River to the works by Hyland street, Fyansford, using horse and dray.


After the death of Peter McCann in 1908, his son, Wesley Burrett Peter McCann (1874-1961), as manager, embarked on a program of expansion and modernisation. In 1910 this involved the introduction of a light gauge railway system on the quarry floor and a cross-country aerial ropeway to transport limestone from quarry to cement works.


By the mid 1920’s, as a consequence of increasing demand for cement products (as construction and road-making material), the company underwent yet another plant upgrade. In 1923 of a second pit, across the Moorabool river and only a short distance from the original site,  was developed and a 3’ 6” gauge railway was introduced (in place of the aerial ropeway) to link quarry and factory. By 1929 a 1km tunnel had been built taking the trains 90 feet below sea level directly to the quarry floor. As well, the cement works had expanded across Hyland street with a new kiln and mill plant being in use.


In 1966 this railway was replaced by an overland, covered-in conveyor-belt system. The Geelong Cement Works finally ceased operation in 2000 (after 110 years) ~ the parent company had decided to import cement from their plant in Tasmania.


The 100ha quarry site lay idle until 2002 when it was decided by the McCann family to produce agricultural lime. Currently, the site operates under the stewardship of Geelong Lime P/L and Adelaide Brighton Cement Ltd. as a 'working quarry' producing limestone and fine sand. Consequently, while access to the quarry is restricted, it can be viewed from the Geelong Bypass (Princes Fwy) and along the Midland Hwy.

Note: Earthcache reports:

“Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate. Most limestone is composed of skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral, forams and molluscs….

“The Batesford Limestone unconformably overlies Palaeozoic granite (541 to 252 million years ago), and grades conformably up into the overlying Miocene Fyansford Formation (23.03 to 5.332 million years ago)…

“The lower 21m of the Batesford Limestone is Longfordian (Lower Miocene) in age, whereas the upper 12 m of the formation is the Lepidocyclina-bearing type section of the uppermost Lower to lower Middle Miocene Batesfordian local marine stage...."

Sandstone Quarries


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Yellow Pages lists several quarries still operating in Fyansford...

But, no-one seems to know anything

about Fyansford's sandstone quarries...

Bluestone Quarries

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Nichterlein's Quarry

This, the smaller and older of the two Fyansford quarries, was initially owned by Ludwig Carl Wilhelm Nichterlein who established himself in the quarrying business during the 1920s. In 1936 Ludwig formed a new partnership with Frederick Kayler-Thomson registering Fyansford Quarries Pty.Ltd., a business which would remain in family hands until the late 1980s. 

Nichterlein's quarry (sometime before 1970)

In 1994 the now-defunct quarry began life as a landfill site with an estimated capacity of 1,000,000 cubic metres and a lifespan of 30 years. Fyansford Waste Disposal & Recycling Centre still operates this facility.

Looking south west across the landfill site, formerly Nichterlein's quarry

(Image courtsey of J. Mitchell)

Mobile Quarries

1926 aerial view of Fyansford showing cement works in background and future Mobile Quarry site in the foreground (Charles Daniel Pratt, 1926)

The quarry site north of the Hamilton Highway has passed through a stream of owners since its opening.

  • 1951    Mobile Quarries

  • 1960     Geelong Quarries

  • 1976     Farley & Lewers

  • 1981     CSR Limited


Following the quarry closure (Ca 2007) plans were drawn up for its redevelopment as a residential estate. However, when the original developer, Moltoni Group, ran into financial difficulties, the site was purchased by ICD Property (as well as former Fyansford Cement Works property on east bank of Moorabool river; land which has recently been redeveloped as part of the Gen Fyansford estate).


The old Mobile Quarries site on the west bank of the Moorabool remains undeveloped.

Aerial photos of quarry taken toward the end of its working life by the Bonacci Group (Ca 2008). 

Yet again I must thank Jo Mitchell for her very informative Barwon Blog and, in particular,

for her 10 July, 2016, post "Digging up the Past" on which I drew heavily for this summary.

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Bluestone quarry flyover

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© J. Flatt

Click image to enlargen...

Can anyone else add to this slowly growing pool of information?

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