Fyan's ford



From Pages Past & Present....

Take me there ...

To read an article hit:

The LaTrobe Journal (October 1969) described Melbourne

at the time of the arrival of Melbourne Punch...

Title Page 1856

    In 1850 the town of Melbourne was astonished at its own progress. It looked forward to the day when it would be the London, and Geelong the Liverpool of the Southern Hemisphere, when its already amazing population of 25,000 would be increased by tens of thousands of ‘happy and contented inhabitants from the starving countries beyond the waves’, and its ‘glorious Bay’ would reflect the images of ‘thousands of tall ships riding upon its bosom’. It was satisfied that ‘the day of small things’ was well behind it, and that it was on the way to tranquil and benevolent prosperity.

   Sooner than the citizens expected this happy dream was over-fulfilled. With the gold rush of 1851 an influx, not of ‘happy and contented inhabitants’ but of restless, ambitious adventurers swelled the population, not by tens but by hundreds of thousands, and when the excitement of the rushes died down, speculators, investors and entrepreneurs centred their attention on the growing city. By 1855 the original town of tents and weatherboard had turned to bluestone and brick; public buildings and institutions, theatres and taverns, shops and dance halls with the addition of civilised services, amenities and communications catered for the inhabitants, but they were still not ‘happy and contented’. .....

Cover Melbourne Punch, 1856

This then was the situation when on 2 August, 1855, Melbourne Punch made its first appearance

in a career that was to satirize

over seventy-five years of colonial development.



Batman's first meeting with Buckley, Houten, H. L. van den, 1878


Sixty-five years have passed since John Batman first heard the "Co-ee" from

Buckley's black friends, on the fair plains of Geelong; and yet, ten years before that, Hamilton Hume and Captain Hovell had reached the Southern Sea "through a charming region," which must have been the Geelong district, as the "Bushman" declared, and not the Western Port fancied by the Seaman," but thus did the country escape being made a penal settlement in 1826......

(Signed) James Bonwick

 Geelong Advertiser Sat 24 Nov 1900



"Another interesting walk was undertaken by the author

to Geelong and the Barrabool Hills in 1844. It was on February 29, the last day of the Geelong races, he left Melbourne........"


Echoes of the past  

Anne Drysdale and Caroline Newcomb

Azolla carpeting the surface of the river

near the Moorabool River Reserve

Riversdale Flour Mill on the Barwon at Chilwell, 1866. Image taken by John Norton, held by the State Library of Victoria

Blog Topics (section)

If I were asked to nominate my recommended contemporary source of information about Fyansford and its locality (apart, of course, from Fyansford.com) I would, without a doubt, point to Barwon Blog by Geelong blogger, Jo Mitchell. Jo Mitchell has for nigh on a decade now posted a mammoth number of Barwon-related blogs. A glance at her list of Blog Topics underscores the breadth of Jo’s interests. I particularly appreciate her attention to detail, her research skills, personal slant and respect for sources. While Jo may focus on specific detail at a given time she also more than occasionally follows a theme e.g., the Moorabool River (58 posts) or more specifically her journey by kayak down the Moorabool from Batesford to Fyansford back in March, 2015. While Jo frequently gets up-close-n-personal with her own photographs, I do appreciate her use of well-researched maps, commentary and assorted photographs / images all with due credits.

For a compilation of links relating more specifically to Fyansford hit the Take me there… marker.


I am forever on the lookout for people who appreciate Fyansford, who recognise what it has to offer and who then, in turn, show their appreciation either in words, via photography or in their art.

Pecali and Wendy were just such a couple and I was very much saddened when I read that Pecali had passed away and what was once Pecali and Wendy’s blog became simply Wendy’s blog.

I think their Fyansford postings which span the period 2010 – 2014 are particularly worthy of appreciation.

“Yesterday Peceli and I drove along the new Ring Road skirting Geelong then turned left back towards Geelong and we decided to stop at the tiny town of Fyansford, to take photos, sketch, have some coffee or lunch and wander near the Moorabool River….” (July 5, 2010)


The Geelong Advertiser is, to my mind, the best source of information regarding local issues, identities and places. 



Click image to see full size


Recreating the Country is a contemporary blog by Stephen Murphy


Stephen, a long-time nurseryman and designer of natural landscapes with qualifications in Geology and Environmental Management, has an informative, delightful and extremely well-presented series of blogs on the vegetation of the Barrabool Hills.


Suzy Keys

Blog : William Buckley, the Wild White Man

The definitive go-to site for hard-core content on William Buckley


when a great site bites the dust.

I can't help but think - Why?

Guess it could be any number of reasons...

Either way - It's a real shame.

I'm hoping Stephen is working on something bigger-n-better...

I am forever fascinated by the way the www works.

Had it not been for Stephen's site I'd not have been introduced to J.H. Wedge, J. Bonwick and lots of other great stuff.

            Looking forward to hearing from you, Stephen.

Great news! 

I emailed Stephen.

He wasn't aware his site was down .

It's back on line.

And you can see again why I think his blog is so good 


Geelong in Historical Pictures


Geelong's most popular, dedicated, drama-free, Facebook history page..



Geelong in Historical Pictures

is, without a doubt, a primary GoTo site for information (particularly photos) of Geelong and Fyansford.

The following are but a sampling of what's available on GiHP.

Remember to click an image to enlargen.

Centre for Fortean Zoology Australia


CFZ Australia is a branch of the non-profit UK-based Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ).


CFZ Australia


is the access centre for Fortean Zoology Australia


About CFZ Australia

We're naturalists, authors, photographers, and academics with a strong interest in zoology.

We investigate reports of 'mystery animals' - rare, extinct and possibly undiscovered - in the Australasia region. We're especially interested in new species, and Australian big cat, 'Queensland Tiger' and Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacine cynocephalus) sightings.

The CFZ is dedicated to all things cryptozoological. Its primary focus involves unknown animals, or cryptozoology, but the CFZ also examines unusual and aberrant animal behavioranimal mutilationsanimal colour variantsteratology, and animal folklore. This is why the organisation refers to itself as the "Centre for Fortean Zoology", rather than any moniker including the word "Cryptozoology".

And so ~ What has this to do with Fyansford?

The CFZ was founded by author and naturalist Jonathan Downes in 1992,

and is based in the United Kingdom. CFZ Australia was started in 2007.


The Best of the Jillong Pocket...

Sample Magazine



Click image to enlarge

Remember ~ Click image to enlargen

Of relevance ~ 

Jillong Pocket


Changing Perceptions of young Fyansfordites 

As reflected in letters to

Aunt Connie from young Fyansfordites

Below is a selection of letters from young Fyansford readers of

the Aunt Connie "Young Folks" column in the Weekly Times (1898 - 1923).

Violet Carroll (1898- 1900)


Tanzin, Rose and Albert Hocking (1899-1905)


Violet Read


Violet Read (1920-1921)


Leigh Price 1898  Maud Downey 1901   Daisy Taylor 1923 



James Bonwick

Bonwick in July, 1862, opened a school in St Kilda which became very prosperous, having an enrolment of over 150 boys. He continued historical and anthropological work in his spare time, publishing John Batman (1867), Curious Facts of Old Colonial Days (1870), Daily Life and Origin of the Tasmanians (1870) and The Last of the Tasmanians (1870). Bonwick was a prolific writer and the story of his life makes for great read. 


by James Bonwick

appeared in the Geelong Advertiser

Saturday 24 November 1900 (page 5).

Though relating in only a minor way to Fyansford district, this article certainly makes good reading for anyone interested in our early history.

Click here to read the entire article.


Living with the Locals  (2016)

comprises the stories of 13 white men, boys and women who were taken in by the Indigeus people of the Torres Strait islands and of eastern Australia and who lived in their communities between the 1790s and the 1870s, from a few months to over 30 years. The white people had been shipwrecked or had escaped the confines of penal servitude and survived only through the Indigeus people's generosity. Many of them were given Indigeus names-Bunboe, Murrangurk, Duramboi, Waki, Giom, Anco. They assimilated to varying degrees into an Indigeus way of life-several marrying and learning the language-and, for the most part, both parties mourned the white people's return to European life.The stories in Living with the Locals provide a glimpse into Indigeus life at the point of early contact between Indigeus people and British colonists. It was a time when negative attitudes towards Indigeus people gave rise to misinterpretation of events and sensationalised versions of the stories. However, many of the white survivors spoke up against the appalling treatment of the Indigeus people, and advocated for conciliation and land rights. They also were unwilling to reveal Indigeus beliefs and customs to unsympathetic colonists.

Available Ebay $37.95

The story of William Buckley –

through others’ eyes pp.26-49


Sample not complete. I need to purchase a copy)

J. H. Wedge

Who was    J. H. Wedge?

I had no idea who J.H. Wedge was until Stephen Murphy

introduced me to him on his "Recreating the Country" blog

John Helder Wedge

Early colonial surveyor and explorer ~ keeper of maps, diaries, letters...


John Helder Wedge's map of his explorations (1835)

The story of colonial surveyor and explorer John Helder Wedge, one of the forgotten founders of Melbourne ~ An audio presentation

ABC Radio National. Hindsight

(Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio National 2011-06-02)


TROVE Search results

Walking the Hills with Wedge and Buckley (1835)


Richard Howitt

best known for:

Impressions of Australia Felix, During Four Years Residence in that Colony

Image 1.jpg

From: Impressions of Australia Felix, During Four Years Residence in that Colony


With list of contents


First Victorian Vineyards


Geelong was named in 1837 by Governor Richard Burke, with the name derived from the  local Wathaurong (Wadawurrung)

Aboriginal name for the region, Djillong, which was understood to mean 'tongue of land'.

ABC Open - Mother Tingue.jpg

Our aim is to educate and help as many people as possible to protect and share the respect that we hold for our Country

Djillong: Our History, Our Story, Our Future 

A Project created by the late Uncle David Tournier

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© John Flatt 2015

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