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"Deviation Road was built between 1931-32 with unemployment labour during the Great Depression and opened in 1933. Cut into the hillside, the surface was originally of concrete construction. The road opened 54 years after the first petition by Fyansford residents for such a road." Wikipedia

"The Deviation is the culmination of the Hamilton Highway which runs from Hamilton in western Victoria to Geelong where it joins the Princes Highway in Newtown. Prior to the construction of the Deviation, the highway extended along Hyland Street (originally named High Street) up the hill beside the cement works. The steep gradient of this stretch of road no doubt made it difficult for heavily laden drays heading into the port of Geelong in the pre-motorized era.

"Possibly as a result of these difficulties, the citizens of Fyansford first petitioned for an alternate road to be built across the face of the hill as early as 1879, however it was not until 1931 that construction began, using unemployed labour during the Great Depression.  The road was carved out of the side of the hill, providing a much lesser gradient for vehicles passing through. Originally of concrete construction, it was completed in 1932 and officially opened in 1933.
"It did not take long however, for tragedy to strike the long-awaited new road. On 2nd December, 1934, two women were driving a horse and buggy back to Fyansford from a church service when their horse shied at a land slip which had left debris on the road from further up the hill. The horse stopped and backed away and with no guard rail to prevent such a fall, the women were thrown from the buggy as it toppled down the hill. One - Miss Effie Clarke aged 51 - died and the other - her 69 year old sister Adeline - received treatment at the Geelong Hospital for her injuries. At a later inquest, the coroner was scathing of the state of the road, indicating that it was unsafe for vehicular traffic and that a guard rail should immediately  be installed.
"The evidence of my own eyes tells me that guard rails were eventually installed, however land slips have continued to plague the Deviation right up to recent times, whilst the tight bends have been an ongoing source of danger to some drivers. In April, 1938 a motorcyclist (Owen B. McEwin, a cement worker from Fyansford) died when his bike with sidecar collided with a truck ascending the hill".

Source: BarwonBlog By Jo Mitchell

Google map ~ Modified

 

The Deviation or cutting, Fyansford

Louis Buvelot (ca. 1880)

The Deviation Road

deviation (diːvɪˈeɪʃən) noun

the action of departing from an established course or accepted standard.

"deviation from a norm"

 

For the latest update on the Deviation... 

See Jo Mitchell's latest Barwon Blog

 

Hyland Street (formerly High Street)

one of the first sealed roads in Fyansford (1933), 

was relaid in concrete in 1937 and subsequently in asphalt.

 

 

Hyland Street has an interesting history...

"As early as 1879, Geelong residents were pleading with the Corio Shire to build a new road from the Fyansford bridge at the Moorabool River on into Geelong. The steep sides of the Fyansford Hill which ran down to the edge of the river, made it very difficult to construct a road connecting the bridge with Aberdeen Street"...

 

"Thus, for the first 95 years of Geelong’s history, the only way into Geelong from the west was up the steep-sided Hyland Street .... to McCurdy Road, and then down Church Street or Autumn Street through Geelong West. Hyland Street had a gradient of 1 in 7 which included two very sharp turns near the top ....

"The consequences of choosing this steep, circuitous route proved disastrous! From the time that Hyland Street was first prepared as a dirt track, many travellers lost control going down the hill, with numerous carriages destroyed and horses killed...

"Especially after 1890, when the cement works opened on top of the hill, heavy traffic constantly chopped up Hyland Street. All vehicles coming down the hill were forced to travel on the wrong side of the road, with drivers using the stony surface under the wheels as a rough brake to slow their carriages.....

"For example, in February 1891 a four-horse wagon loaded with timber was being followed down the hill by a three-horse wagon fully laden with goods. The brakes on the upper wagon failed, and the resulting collision between the 2 vehicles left two horses dead, another badly injured, and both wagons completely smashed. Fortunately the drivers were unharmed. But that was not always the case. At least 7 human lives were lost going down the hill, along with countless other travellers seriously injured.

"However, once control was lost, a loud shout sounded by the driver to “Get out of the way!” was the only warning of impending disaster. The only way the travellers on the lower section of road could survive the destruction was to turn their horses around and gallop to the bottom of the hill, hopefully out-running the out-of-control vehicle roaring down on top of them. Desperate locals pleaded with the Corio Council to do something. The Geelong Cement Company even donated money to the Council, to go toward improving Hyland Street, or for the construction of a detour. But apart from lots of meetings and discussion, nothing happened. Then, in 1914, the Country Roads Board (CRB) recommended that it should be possible to connect the road at Fyansford with Aberdeen Street, at the corner of Minerva Road. They suggested that, if the Corio Shire handed over authority for the proposed deviation road, the CRB would designate it a ‘main road’ and would take responsibility to construct and maintain it. Despite this gratuitous offer, the Corio Shire still did nothing, unwilling to give up part of their authority. Finally, during the Great Depression years of 1931-2 money was given to the CRB by the Unemployed Relief Fund to build the Deviation Road, as it is still called today. Cut into the hillside and originally constructed from concrete, the road was opened in 1933. That same year, Hyland Street became one of the very first sealed (asphalted) roads in Geelong. With bridges being constructed over the Moorabool River in 1854 (tolled until 1877), 1900, and finally in 1970, the western approach to Geelong has now become much safer....." "

Source: 

Jillong Pocket (pdf) Page 16 — Conquering the Fyansford Hill

 

“On many occasions horses bolted down Fyansford Hill, the steepest hill in Geelong. On one occasion Messrs Chirnside’s team of four valuable horses bolted at a terrific pace and when near the bottom of the hill a front wheel came off the wagon. Two horses fell; one was killed outright and the other was so badly injured that it had to be shot. There was an accident to a spring cart. The horse bolted from Herne Hill and down the hill with a Mrs Brown caught partly through the bottom of the cart with her legs dangling. The horse went right along to the bridge, turned sharply, passed the old flour mill and was stopped by a man at a steep bank near Dietrich’s vineyard. Mrs McDonald nearly died of shock. The bolting horse and cart must have travelled well over a mile”

 

“On another occasion Donald McCaskill’s team bolted down the hill and an elderly man names Murchison, who was sitting at the back of the wagon, fell off and was killed instantly. This accident happened in the eighteen seventies.”

Source:

Fyansford History Notes By Roy Holden  (Geelong Heritage Centre Ref. 3221F  994.52 FYA)

 

 

Fyansford Hill (Ca. 1853)

A pencil drawing by Samuel Thomas Gill overlooking the timber bridge at Fyansford, soon after its construction and showing the realigned road. The
Swan Inn can be seen upstream to the right whilst the Fyansford Hotel is yet to be built. 

Image held by the State Library of Victoria

Source:  Jo Mitchell ~ Four bridges and a ford: the first bridge

Views of Hyland Street (from Jo Mitchell's Barwon Blog)

The Hamilton Highway 

 

State route B140, runs from the Princes Highway in Geelong to the town of Hamilton (at one time called

"The wool capital of the world")......

 

The Geelong end of the highway was once routed along Hyland Street Fyansford, until the construction of Deviation Road between 1931-32 with unemployment labour during the Great Depression.....

 

The town of Hamilton was originally called"Grange". 

The origin of the name "Hamilton" is unclear.

Source: Victorian Places

 

En-route from Geelong to Ballarat and Western District

"In 1862 the Cobb & Co. Leviathan coach was built in Bendigo. Double-decker and capable of carrying up to 89 people, with separate compartments for men and women, it ran between Ballarat and Geelong in Victoria. It was, however, not a great success as the leading horses were out of range of the driver's whip, which meant he sometimes had to carry a bag of stones to throw at them when he wanted them to quicken their pace..."

Source: Cobb & Co. - an Australian transport icon

 

"Another way to reach Ballarat (From Melbourne) was to take the steamer to Geelong and then the coach from there at a cost of 3 pounds or sixty hours’ work. Coach horses were changed at ten mile (16 km) intervals and during the early days, involved at least one stop overnight..."

Source: Gold! Gold! Gold!

 

"Immigrants seeking to make their fortune at the goldfields and who arrived at the port of Melbourne had to choose whether to travel straight to the goldfields - a journey of over 75 miles or to travel by steamer to Geelong and then make their way to the goldfields as best they could. For many, this meant "tramping from Geelong to Ballarat on foot, carrying their belongings with them on their back or sometimes even in a wheelbarrow and from what I have found in the newspapers of the day, the path they followed was the existing route from Geelong to Buninyong, well-established as early as 1840 and the same path taken by the earliest private mail coach between the two towns in 1846.... For those who could afford it, this was also the road taken by coach passengers. With the discovery of gold, the number of coach services running between Geelong and Buninyong soon increased from a two-horse conveyance in 1849 running Mondays and Thursdays, to a number of four-horse carriages operating over a range of days...."

Source: Barwon Blog ~ Making tracks - to the goldfields (October, 2015)

 

In Jo Mitchell's later blog, Jo suggests that the major route from Geelong to Ballarat went via Bell Post Hill and Batesford; rather than Fyansford. 

On the other hand, I would suggest, the latter route was favoured by Western District pastoralists and the bullock teams transporting wool to mills in Geelong...

 

"The winter of 1849 was very wet, making roads impassable, and delaying the start of shearing until late spring. One report was that two drays from the interior arrived at Geelong with average loads drawn by fourteen bullocks, which showed signs of being drawn belly deep through mud and water. Mails were late. As late as October, there were more than fifty bullock teams in Geelong awaiting return to stations with shearing supplies. With many there were shearers, sheepwashers and labourers who had been hired, but could not move because of the condition of the roads and floods....

"When the weather improved sufficiently for people to move, the Clancy's left Melbourne on their long journey into the bush, probably travelling in a dray or wagon drawn by bullocks. They may have gone to Geelong and then travelled with one of the drays returning to the station in the Pyrenees, or they may have travelled via Buninyong to Great Western...".

Source: The Clancy's Go Bush

 

Fyan Ford ~ Bullocky stop-over...

 

Fyansford Bullock Track

 

Fyans ford, first shown on 1837 plans, was critical in providing access to the south-west coast region during the first 15-20 years of European settlement in Victoria. A bullock track from Geelong, after crossing Fyans ford, continued past the Swan Inn in a southerly direction and then onto the Inverleigh Road.

 

Bullock wagons regularly used Fyans ford as a watering hole as they travelled to and from the western district.

 

A Geelong Advertiser article from 1842 underscored the importance of the ford, "Unless something be speedily done towards the repair of this, the principal crossing place on the Great Western Road, a serious difficulty will be found to exist in bringing down the present clip of wool to market".

 

An 1842 upgrade completed by John Atkins, owner of the Swan Inn, can be observed in the 1846 painting by Charles Norton.

 

The route was mapped in 1847.

 

Fyans ford continued to sustain heavy use, particularly during the gold rush, and was replaced in 1854 by a wooden bridge located several hundred metres downstream from the ford.

 

Source:

Victorian Heritage Database Report Report

"The winter of 1849 was very wet, making roads impassable, and delaying the start of shearing until late spring. One report was that two drays from the interior arrived at Geelong with average loads drawn by fourteen bullocks, which showed signs of being drawn belly deep through mud and water. Mails were late. As late as October, there were more than fifty bullock teams in Geelong awaiting return to stations with shearing supplies. With many there were shearers, sheepwashers and labourers who had been hired, but could not move because of the condition of the roads and floods....

"When the weather improved sufficiently for people to move, the Clancy's left Melbourne on their long journey into the bush, probably travelling in a dray or wagon drawn by bullocks. They may have gone to Geelong and then travelled with one of the drays returning to the station in the Pyrenees, or they may have travelled via Buninyong to Great Western...".

Source: The Clancy's Go Bush

 

Fyansford ~ En-route with Cobb & Co.

But! 

Jo Mitchell asks 

in her 2016 Barwon Blog

"So, how did the diggers decide which road to take when heading from Geelong (or Melbourne via Geelong) to the goldfields of Ballarat and beyond?'…”

Story of Cobb and Co

Stage coaches were first introduced in New South Wales, well before the settlement of the Port Phillip district; even before Melbourne and Geelong were even founded. An “early attempt was made to utilise them to connect “these two hamlets”, with a coach being imported around 1839 from Van Diemen's Land proved unsuccessful.

 

Towards the end of the forties a couple of hotel-keepers were running "conveyances" between Geelong and the nearer settlements of the Western District during the summer months. However, it was not until the goldrush days (early 1850s) that coach travel really began in Victoria.

 

Once Melbourne was linked to Geelong by the railway, Cobb and Co. began booking passengers from Melbourne through to Ballarat; taking them first by train to Geelong and then by coach for the second leg of the journey.

 

By 1860 the coach lines extending as far west as Hamilton and Portland with competition being so keen on the Geelong to Ballarat route that the fare was reduced to five shillings.

 

In January, 1860, Cobb and Co’s huge, Bendigo-built "Leviathan" coach made its first appearance running between Ballarat and Geelong; a double-decker capable of carrying nearly a hundred passengers drawn by a team of eight horses. It was, however, not a great success as its unwieldy length and size rendering it impractical.

Source:

Scorching to the diggings (A. W. Greig)

Cobb & Co. - an Australian transport icon

The real and the not-so-real

Originals on loan from Michelle Stokie

Street Names

 

Many Fyansford streets, it would appear,

are named after local residents who lost their lives in some of Australia's military conflicts...

Honour rolls reveal the following 'Fyansfordites' whose names match local street names:

WW1

M. H. Carroll

WW2

N.C. Carroll

R. L. Carroll

B. Carroll

N. Gugger

R. Gugger

 

  • Can anyone confirm the relationship between these names

and our local streets?

  • It is important to note there were others from our locality

on the honour rolls....

  • Can anyone provide photos of any of these brave Australians;

locals who need to be remembered and not just as street names?