Are there any Fyansford 'seniors' out there
who can throw light
on any aspect of the image?
“…this is the problem with photographs. After a while, you can’t remember if you’re recalling the actual memory or the memory of the photograph. Or perhaps the photograph is the only reason you remember that moment.”
Michael Zadoorian, The Leisure Seeker
This amazing image of 1971 APC Fyansford by K.L. Cecil (recently posted on the Geelong in Historic Pictures Facebook page) has really excited me.
Hopefully, it will also excite others.
I'd love to hear from anyone who might be able to throw light on the image and this important aspect of Fyansford's history.
Is there anyone who can add to our knowledge of this photograph?
The complex was bought by Australian Portland Cement Company Limited following removal of Orphanage to another site at Belmont in 1933.
It is fair to assume that some current Geelong inhabitant had a parent attend the orphanage or school.
Do you know anyone who attended the orphanage?
Can you add a thread to the rich tapestry that is Fyansford 's colourful history? I would love to know more about any of these points of interest.
The source is an aerial photograph taken ca. 1928 by Charles Daniel Pratt (Airspy collection).
National Library of Australia (TROVE)
Some of the many points of interest about which I seek commentary:
1. Rail line-extension from North Geelong railway station in 1918
3. Site of Thomas Payne’s residence / Fair View Hotel as suggested in J. Mitchell’s blog
4. Elm-tree lined Autumn Street as described in 1930 photo (Osborne House)
5. Former Protestant Orphan Asylum and Common School
6. Maskell's dairy farm
8. Power station generating electricity for cement works
9. Former Post Office and Gugger Store
11. Balmoral Inn
13. Water run-off from cement works power station
14. Two deep caves in cliff face
15. Monier bridge built in 1899
A Fyansford.com follower recently forwarded a copy of this photo asking if I could
The image hangs in the Fyansford Hotel (by the fireplace). And, yes, it is, indeed, very interesting. Disregarding the reflections,
the content is somewhat perplexing.
The hotel seems to be surrounded by water and in the distance are two "large ships!".
Definitely, a conundrum...
My first reaction ~ It's photoshopped
Take an original photo of the hotel during a flood.
Extend and reshape the water.
Insert the horizon and ship outlines and there you have it.
But this is in a group of photos dating Ca 1900. Definitely not photoshopped.
My second thought ~ It's early photo manipulation
Photo manipulation has been around since the mid 1800s.
Double exposure was common in the late 1800’s.
This involves exposing a single frame to two or more images.
When printed the image is a composite of the shots taken.
Hanna Brooks Olsen in 2017 reminded us Photoshop “… is the “latest tool” for photographers, but it’s certainly not the one that invented photo manipulation….”
"Traditional photographic prints can be altered using various methods and techniques that involve manipulation directly to the print.... Negatives can be manipulated while still in the camera using double-exposure techniques, or in the darkroom by piecing photos or negatives together. Some darkroom manipulations involved techniques such as bleaching to artfully lighten or totally wash-out parts of the photograph, or hand coloring for aesthetic purposes or to mimic a fine art painting."
Photo via Retronaut
Then I thought ~ Let's take another look at that photo...
How does the photo match other images of the pub from that period?
Was there a flood around that date?
Were there any large boats ever on the Barwon?
Fyansford Township Ca 1880 John Norton
The pub photo is in the company of others dating from Ca 1900
It is also consistent with this early photograph
The question of flooding...
The Age (Melbourne), 24 June, 1899
“Intelligence was received to-day that big floods were coming down the Leigh and Barwon rivers. If the volume of water should dam back the Moorabool where it joins the Barwon near Fyansford, the temporary bridge will be imperiled, and the new bridge in course of construction will be damaged….”
Moorabool in Flood - The Age, April 1899
There were big floods around the confluence of the Moorabool and Barwon Rivers in 1899
The Barwon River at Brewarrina is in NSW. The PS Cato sailed the Murray and Darling rivers and connected rivers. Thanks, Barry!
Nothing like the big vessels depicted in the 'pub photo'.
In my humble opinion this is an example
of photo manipulation...
However, I would be very interested to
hear from anyone more knowledgeable
who can throw light on this Fyansford Pub Photo Conundrum.
Please feel free to contact me via:
conundrum /kəˈnʌndrəm/ (n)
a confusing and difficult problem or question
(problem, difficult question, vexed question, difficulty, quandary, dilemma)
photographic conundrum (n)
John Berger (1972) described a photographic conundrum as "an inability to read the specificity of the picture as an autonomous and knowable entity".
photographic conundrum (n)
My definition ~ A photo displaying characteristics that are inconsistent with previous understandings, i.e., it displays visual contradictions or discrepancies.
Having in my previous life written numerous books on problem solving,
it is understandable that I should enjoy regular conundrums.
It must be over two years since Alexandra Casboult first introduced me to the delights of researching photos on the internet and I’m forever indebted to her.
See: The Shadow Remains.
Ali's second querie got me into the world of photographic conundrums.
However, it was only last week that another Fyansfordite, Michelle Stokie, dropped off an envelope; the contents of which have held my attention ever since. And, it contained an interesting contradiction.
Check the slideshow below to see if you can see what caught my attention.
Michelle's surprise pack
Pick the conundrum
Click on image to enlargen.
All photos from 1860-1870
How did you go? Click arrow to get more details...
Fyans Ford by Source unknown Ca 1870
Fyans Ford - unknown photographer Ca 1870
Fyansford Township by John Norton
Ca. 1866-ca. 1880(182mm x 263 mm.
Sepia toning - a special treatment which began in the 1800s with the aim of giving a B&W photographic print a warmer tone, i.e. it turned standard monochromatic photos into something a little more eye-pleasing.
Fyans ford Township by Ian Hawthorne Ca 1870
Glossy original photo (245mm x 180mm) provided by Michelle Stokie
Ink stamp (on reverse of photograph 5.
Image 5 with a digital overlay of image 4.
Later postcard (Ca 1900) from similar vantage point (post monier bridge and cement works).
Therefore, to me, it seems highly implausible that the two photographs could have been taken separately by both John Norton and Ian Hawthorne:
- from exactly the same location or vantage point
- at exactly the same time (with no movement of the man on the bridge)
- with identical 'common' content (in terms of overlapping section)
I would suggest that Ian Hawthorne's Fyansford Township was the original photograph and that Norton's image was a cropped version turned 'sepia' (for whatever reason); possibly for use as a postcard (Image 8).
Fyansford's "phantom" bridge
Peter Begg in his article "Concrete cements deal" (Geelong Advertiser, 10 June, 2019, p. 37) posted the above photo with the caption "The bridge in 1966 when a pedestrian bridge was built alongside". He commented further in the body of his article, "The Monash bridge had been too narrow for pedestrians and a footbridge can be seen next to it in the 1960s".
Now this got me thinking...
I would have been approaching my mid-twenties at that time but I have no recollection of a footbridge; so either the bridge was there known to others but not me or the date (1960s) was incorrect.
Consequently, in my capacity as moderator of Fyansford.com, I wrote to Mr Begg in reference to my web-page "Crossing the Moorabool at Fyansford". I also asked if he could quote the source of his photo. Alas, I have not received a reply. Thus, I am now seeking assistance from anyone who might be able to throw light on this "phantom" bridge.
I would think that any Fyansfordite aged in their seventies who was resident in the area at that time would be able to confirm the existence (or not) of the footbridge. I have searched high-n-low but as yet not found any reference to a 1960s footbridge.
I can't help but somewhat fancifully image that many a Geelong resident may have, on a balmy Sunday afternoon, enjoyed a relaxing stroll through Fyansford - admiring the avenue of honour, savouring a meal in the Fyansford pub (no pokies back then), popped into Gugger's Store (before the building became an antique and doll shop), strolled across footbridge upstream from the Monier bridge (the new structure not then on drawing-boards), admired the beautifully tranquil view up the Moorabool and then climb the timber stairway west of the river to take a photo looking up the Fyansford hill escarpment. Perhaps, if they ventured along the parade they may have even glimpsed the increasingly derelict farmhouse that once was the old Swan Inn. I'd like to think there was even, at that time, a small outlet providing Devonshire teas, of course with scones, clotted cream and jam.
Thanks, Steve Hovey, for taking the time to respond to the challenge. Steve declared, "We walked over the bridge to get to school". Can't get any better confirmation than that. He goes on to suggest, "The pedestrian bridge was removed after the 'new' bridge was completed and the road rerouted. It had some fairly serious curves onto the old bridge. Awesome fun riding a pushbike downhill on the narrow walking track and over the wooden bridge, roughly 50 years ago now."
I guess that gives it a functional lifespan of three years (1966- 1970).
Growing from feedback to the above I accept the footbridge was in use from 1966 until the new bridge was opened in 1970. I invite further comment & feedback.
Not a lone pine ~ but, rather, one of many...
... planted after the great war as part of an 'avenue of honour' in Hyland Street, Fyansford.
Thanks to Geelong in Historical Pictures for these two photos.
Now, as I always look at everything from a personal angle, I can't help but ask:
Who took the photo?
Who was the person cut from the image?
What was the dog's name?
Who lived in that house?
When was it demolished?
Regarding the stone building by the pine in the above image, Anne Morell tells us it was, "Guggers Store and my father Don Gugger was born in the front room 92 years ago. When it was sold it became Seniors Antiques".
Andrew Bews adds, "That's next door to us - now the Fyansford wellness center"
Thanks, folks. All helps to clarify the situation
Back on August 16, Evert van Dreven posted the following delightful photo tagged 'Some relaxing fishing in the powerhouse cooling pond' on Geelong In Historical Pictures; obviously a good spot to cast a line judging by the number of fishermen there...
Within a very short time Margaret Nash had posed a logical question, "Evert can you tell me where this is in terms of Fyansford today?"
This got me thinking.
Naturally I went back to my collection of C. D. Pratt "Airspy" images coming up with this 1926 photo...
And then I checked Google Earth ~ coming up with the following...
Mind you, I'm just guessing and my labels may be totally inaccurate. Over to you Evert...
I was pleased to receive a call and email with photo from Evert which caused a rethink...
Evert said there was another building constructed next to the Power Station (closer to the Deviation intersection), an alternative energy plant. It was, of course, later demolished .
However, Evert believes the cooling pond was further SW.
Click image to enlarge to full size
Fyans Ford by Thomas Hannay Cas 1859 (photographic print mounted on cardboard)
State Library of Victoria
Back in "Please explain!” (Image 6), I looked at a photo which to my mind was a composite image comprising ocean-going vessels and the Fyansford pub. No-one disagreed with my conclusion at that time. Here is another interesting image from our 'local' this time with a girl purportedly diving into the Moorabool River from the old Fyansford bridge (again featuring the pub).