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Fyans' ford



Sunset over the Moorabool River

South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Ma
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Cover Melbourne Punch, 1856

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On 2 August, 1855, Melbourne Punch made its first appearance in a career that was to satirize

over seventy-five years of colonial development.

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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

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"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........"

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Echoes of the past   Anne Drysdale and C

Echoes of the past  

Anne Drysdale and Caroline Newcomb

Azolla carpeting the surface of the rive

Azolla carpeting the surface of the river

near the Moorabool River Reserve

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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 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.

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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)

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

e.g. The Protestant Orphan Asylum, Herne Hill


Click image to see full size

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The First Settlers discover Buckley F Wo
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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.

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Suzy Keys

Blog : William Buckley, the Wild White Man

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

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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

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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?

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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.

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The Best of the Jillong Pocket...

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Sample Magazine



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Remember ~ Click image to enlargen

Of relevance ~ 

Jillong Pocket

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Changing Perceptions of young Fyansfordites 

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As reflected in letters to

Aunt Connie from young Fyansfordites

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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)


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Tanzin, Rose and Albert Hocking (1899-1905)


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Violet Read


Violet Read (1920-1921)


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Leigh Price 1898  Maud Downey 1901   Daisy Taylor 1923 


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early australian press

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. 

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Discovery and Settlement of Port Phillip
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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.

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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

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The story of William Buckley –

through others’ eyes pp.26-49


Sample not complete. I need to purchase a copy)

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Well might you ask..

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)

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Richard Howitt

best known for:

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

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


With list of contents


First Victorian Vineyards

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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'.

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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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Visitors’ Illustrated Guide to Geelong



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Saturday last was the day appointed for holding the various festivities in honour of the opening of Mr. Atkins' Inn, at Fyans Ford. The day was unfortunately of the most unfavourable description. At intervals the rain fell in torrents; and the distance of the scene of action from the town, prevented the attendance of an immense number of spectators. Making allowance for these untoward circumstances, the attendance was both numerous and respectable; and the spectators evinced a zealous interest in the various sports which were so managed as to take place in the intervals of fair weather. The sports of the day commenced with a hurdle Race between horses of all denominations; a mile and a half, over five leaps. There were only two horses in the race - Mr. Highett’s bay mare Una, Mr. Stevenson, rider. Mr. Denny's bay gelding Speculator, Mr. Wilson, rider.


Both horses went away at a slashing pace, Speculator taking the lead; the mare keeping nearly in company up to the second hurdle; when Speculator swerved and threw his rider. Una then had it all her own way and carried her rider over the leaps winning easily.



In the evening, forty gentlemen sat down to a most sumptuous dinner, at the Fyans Ford Inn. Arrangements had been made for dining a much larger number, had not the inclemency of the weather compelled an adjournment from the tent which had been erected for the occasion, to one of the rooms in. the house. The viands were of the most recherché character and supplied in the greatest profusion.


Captain Fyans occupied the chair and Mr. Pinnock acted as vice-chairman. After the cloth was removed the usual loyal toasts were given by the chairman and were warmly responded to by the company - "The Queen," “Price Albert and the Royal Family," “His Excellency the Governor," and “His Honor the Superintendent."

The chairman then rose, and said that he felt great pleasure in proposing the health of one who, by his exertions in the improvement of that locality and the spirited manner in which he had set about and carried on the erection of that building in which they had met, entitled him to rank as a public benefactor; and he hoped and believed that the undertaking would be duly supported and appreciated by the settlers generally. He would therefore propose the health of "Mr. Aikins."


Mr. Atkins returned thanks for the honor which had-been done him; he was proud of the manner in which he had that day been supported; and he could only state in return that whatever he could do to provide for the comfort of the public, or to advance the general and individual prosperity of the settlers, he should at all times be most happy to perform.


Dr. Thomson rose to propose a toast. He was sure that everyone present would agree with him in saying that the prosperity of Geelong was mainly owing to the exertions of the upright and independent magistrate he was about to name; to him were the inhabitants indebted for the commencement of all the public works of the district, such as they were; and he was sure that he had only to pronounce the name of Captain Fyans to ensure an enthusiastic response.


Captain Fyans returned thanks and stated that he hoped he always would be found ready to perform his duty in a straightforward manner for the good of the community, which was the only way in which a magistrate could act with credit and efficiency. ….

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The History of Geelong and Corio Bay, by Walter Randolph Brownhill

Geelong Advertiser, January 31, 1989

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Yet another nugget from The Gugger Collection

1.  Clarkes Road Creamery

3.  Old farm house

Charles Le Favre

Charles' Fyansford photographs raise more questions than they do answers. Hopefully, someone in our community may be able to add footnotes to Charles' photos. 

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2.  Relics from the past (!)

4.  Swan Inn (Pre-graffiti)

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Where do you think Charles was standing when he took this photo?

Relics from the Past

  • Are these piers from an earlier bridge?

  • Are there others?

  • Were foundations used under the  toll house?

  • Timber foundations!

  • Has anyone ever investigated the original Fyans ford location with a metal detector?

Clarkes Road Creamery ~ 

  • Was there such a place?

  • Where exactly was it located?

  • Was it part of a dairy?

  • Who owned it?

  • Where is it now?

Old Farm House

  • Where exactly was it located?

  • Is it still standing?

  • Who owned it?

  • Was it related to the Friend in Hand Hotel?

The Swan Inn (among many names) 

  • A very important marker in Fyansford's history

  • Do you know anyone with links to the building?

  • Did you know it's being renovate / rebuilt?

  • Can anyone tell me about its future?

  • Check Charles' pre-graffiti photos

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