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I was just thinkin' .......


Just throwing this out there…  (An across-tables revelation)


Being Sunday-afternoon movie addicts our lunch times are dictated by what’s on at the theatre and when.

If there’s nothing worth seeing we stay home have a table-picnic (cheeses, meats, Tuscan mix) and a bottle of wine; with Mary having to guess the Australian wine; which is no mean feat bearing in mind her American origins – though now an Australian citizen. If it’s a very early showing I grab a blue-heaven milkshake from Panache while Mary collects her diet coke and popcorn. A mid-afternoon showtime involves a fast-food eatery within the mall. This week’s 3.15pm start meant we could enjoy lunch at Bistrot Plume (a deliciously-small Mount Pleasant Road restaurant).


It wasn’t long before the two inevitable questions were asked of Mary

by the delightful couple at an adjacent table – Where are you from and

How did you two meet?

By 3.00pm our respective stories had been shared;

during the telling of which I handed across my card -

which led to us being made privy to an interesting bit of history…

As a secondary school student the now 76-year old gentleman had the “good” fortune of being given, during term breaks, some money-earning work at the Fyansford limestone quarry by his uncle, the work’s boss – his job to stand at the edge of the drop-off and direct the backing of trucks to the edge so they could deposit their loads of top soil. Apparently, toward the end of one shift, his mind wandered, a left-rear wheel came a little too close to the edge and, with wheels spinning in the scree, began a slow but inevitable slide toward the drop-off. The shocked boy immediately jumped out of the way, the driver evacuated the vehicle (must have been before seat-belts were compulsory), and both, with dropping jaws, watched as the behemoth disappeared in heart-stopping slow motion over the edge coming to rest with a loud thump upside-down at the base of the incline. A works-crew subsequently arrived, retrieved the vehicle, cut it into bits and welded the parts back together. Within three weeks the truck was back at work. Needless-to-say none of the drivers henceforth took their eyes of rear-view mirrors, ignoring the lad’s directions totally. Yes, as the boss’s nephew he kept his job. But, I don’t think he went to the Christmas breakup.

As told to John & Mary (Sunday, 3rd November, 2019)

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It's black & white

I never saw it. Until this morning...

On the bike at the gym

watching the National Press Club address.

It's not the passage of time that makes it so hard to get older. It's ageism, a prejudice that pits us against our future selves -- and each other.... "Aging is not a problem to be fixed or a disease to be cured....

It is a natural, powerful, lifelong process that unites us all."

Ashton Applewhite 

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I've seen two top TV programs this week. Programs that made me think. Really think!
Firstly, You can't ask that... with a group of totally with-it olders.
Secondly, The National Press Club address featuring an amazing thinker, Ashton Applewhite.
If I could get a link to You can't ask that... I'd show it.
Here's the link to Ashton Applewhite's address.
Here's a link to her Ted Talks presentation.
Made me think about life, myself, Fyansford...
It's time to create a world of age equality by making discrimination on the basis of age as unacceptable as any other kind of bias.
Fyansford is what it is. It has a great history.
It will have a great future.
It will be a lovely place to live, to raise families, to enjoy life.

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Just thinking!

Back in the days…


.... when weekends were filled with dives, week nights with writing the club newsletter and the Geelong Dive Club was a big chunk of my world, life was an everyday buzz; never knowing when a dive might deliver to me that nugget of gold; well, at least a classic old bottle or broken shard of pottery from an earlier time just released from the sands by currents…


Nowadays my days with Mary and Archie are filled with family, friends, travel, meals out, that quiet whisky at night, pottering around the house, delving through history and writing. I still look for that occasional nugget.


Just last night I met with a gentleman who worked on the re-routing of the Moorabool and who  gifted me a bundle of photographs (16) and a news-clipping from the Geelong Advertiser. Many thanks, Leo.

Every contribution appreciated... whether in a bundle or individually

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Betsey Anne Benne My dad at fyansford qu

Betsey Anne Benne - My dad at Fyansford quarry

Vikki Wazhere (Synot family home)

Grazing Licence ~ Thanks, Dianne!

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Latest delivery... Thanks, Kurt!

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These Assisi frescos at one time had meaning. Nowadays tourists walk past without giving them a second glance.

Relics from a different time...


Take me to it...


Click image to access slideshow

I have always enjoyed walking my dogs; currently Archie (a beaglier) and formally Magic (a cavalier) and I never know who I am going to meet; always fun chatting with and learning from my  neighbours.

It's truly amazing what talented people live 'next door', just up the road, around the corner, in the next street.... One neighbour is a micro-biologist, one a gold prospector, one a keen off-roader...


One Fyansfordite  I've come to know is just the most talented "creative" I've ever met. Totally unassuming - but oh so talented.


To me a creative photographer is one who does more than just take photos. It is what he or she does with them (in the editing process) that is so amazing. I see Michelle as a creative artist in the field of photography. And, yes, I have thrown out the challenge to Michelle to weave her spells over some of our Fyansford features. Here's hoping....                                                 See Forever exploring

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Not all alike…                     Thankfully!

I have friends ~ some of whom are gifted photographers, talented sportsmen, highly qualified academics, amateur gardeners par excellence, tradies I'd trust, artistically creative or possessors of unbelievable memories. I am none of these. That is not to say I am without skills of which I am proud. Some have said that I’ve been lucky in life. No, I would rather it be said, I’ve been opportunistic in dealing with Life’s offerings.


While I have had books published by MacMillan, Addison Wesley Longman, Pearson…, this would not have happened had I not first approached Longman Cheshire back in 1986. Now I appreciate seeing others step out of their comfort-zones and, thus, I congratulate Greg Dale on presenting his poem tentatively titled “There Was a Place” to the world via the Fyansford Community Noticeboard.

There Was a Place …


There is a Tavern down there,
Doors are gone,
Lanterns are out,
People are gone,
in its day,
Horses just wonder about.


Roof has holes,
Windows aren’t there,
Walls are still in tack,
At the Junction hotel,
Coming into Fyansford town.


Not many knows
What stood there,
As they passed each day,
Cursing down the highway,
Coming into Fyansford town.


They come down that road,
Fyansford Gheringhap Rd,
They don’t know what it is,
As people have gone
From a past day,
Horses just wander about.


Roof it has holes,
Windows aren’t there,
Walls are still in tack,
At the junction hotel,

Coming into Fyansford town.


In its day.
It was the place to be,
Place to catch up,
Leave note
Of where you would be.


Roof has holes,
Windows aren’t there,
Bluestone walls are still in tack,
At the Junction hotel,
Coming into Fyansford town.

Back then...

The Junction Hotel, Fyansford-Gheringhap


Unaccustomed as I am to melancholy...

Fyansford is still Fyansford ~ even without the silos

Those palm trees ~ who planted them and why?

A new shopping precinct ~ will it reflect the uniqueness of Fyansford?

A bottle shop makes sense ~ but....

History is more than just a blank slate...

The Parade has seen a lot of history, just as our Monier bridge has...

Will the old Swan Inn be resurrected yet again?

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Guess I just have to live vicariously through the adventures of the young'uns...

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Getting older

is a real bummer

Special thanks to Evert van Dreven and Mac Haywood for this morning's contributions.

Evert van Dreven

Macaulay Haywood

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 They just disappeared ..... ?

As a youngster I wondered how was it possible for civilisations, cultures, towns and houses to just - disappear, vanish, cease to exist with barely a trace left behind...


Visiting Angkor Wat, Rome, Greece, Egypt and the UK, I wondered how on Earth        a place once so alive could become little more than a ruin (if that) ...

As a relative but interested newcomer to Fyansford, I am confronted with exactly that... I can see how signs of previous life can over a very short time just fade away....


     glance through this selection of Chareles Pratt AirSpy photographs demonstrates clearly how a locality can change over a remarkably short period of time.

So much that just isn't there now....

     ave a look at these maps


So, what is not there....

Motorists need up-to-date Sat-Navs

Tell me more... See Atkins Street

So! What happened to Luke Street?

Some might call me anal.


   I just love attention to detail....


I can't help

but be impressed

by the work of architect Sam Brak

Concrete Dreams Design Brief

... convert a group of massive, disused concrete silos on the outskirts of Geelong into a

multi-function community centre.

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Take me there...


Anchor 15

The more i learn about the guggers

 the more impressed I become


The Gugger Collection,


Gugger   family-tree


"Deep Time Dreaming" by Billy Griffiths


and my imagination runs wild

Post 24.  A message from Sarah

Hi guys, hope all is doing well in these trying times. I’m hoping you may be able to help me with some local knowledge, as you obviously have a love for the history of Fyansford! Well I generally love history and also finding pieces of the past, which comes to my question – Myself, the hubbie and 2 boys are avid hunters of all sorts with a metal detector! We have all permits and we are looking for any locations that are known or unknown history locations, and ones we are allowed / have permission to do so. We would love to be able to bring relics to the surface but I’m not sure of a few things, 1st obviously location, I know the Fyansford common is public ground but is there any historical significance that may put a stop to us detecting that area? We obviously will leave it as we found it. and are there any other locations you may be aware of? And 2nd if all is ok to do so, do you think the Fyansford community would be ok with us doing so as we do not want to upset anyone. Any info in our assistance will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time.

Sarah Mana

Hmmm! Having recently read, "Deep Time Dreaming" I am becoming increasingly aware of land-right issues. So I am placing Sarah's message out-there. Perhaps someone more 

knowledgeable than I can answer her.

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Deep Time Dreaming

Australians tend to have an uneasy relationship with the history of this continent. Of the three strands of our national story' - the Indigenous, settler and multicultural pasts - it is the first that we most struggle to comprehend and accommodate. This is partly because Indigenous culture remained for so long outside the national gaze, creating a blindness about both the violence of dispossession and the stories of survival; it is partly because the depth and diversity of Indigenous history has only recently been recognised by anthropologists, archaeologists, historians and linguists: and it is partly because the magnitude of that history - the sheer antiquity of humanity in Australia - is difficult to fathom. ‘The human mind may not have evolved enough to be able to comprehend deep time,’ American writer John McPhee reflects. ‘It may only be able to measure it.’

Never too old to ...

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Some mornings I wake up, shower, walk the dog and just want to go surfing. Well, I can dream.....

The next best thing is to surf the net.


So, this is an introduction to a page of unplanned wanderings, some might say maudlings; on those mornings when, no matter what is waiting to be completed, I just feel like doing something a little different...

So, I just go where the WWW takes me... trusting there will be something interesting that turns up...

So, let's go surfing...


This tantalizing tidbit arrived in the mail yesterday from Kerrie Wearne Harrison.

Morsels like this don’t come by every day. Surely, it’s just a teaser.

Well, I’m biting…


Can anyone add flesh to this appetiser by translating the military jibber-jabber, gobbledygook to plain language?


          Hey! The good thing about Personal Musings

          is that I have a community with whom I can share the problem...

          Does it refer to a "commando training camp" as Kerrie hypothesises?

          Or something entirely different...

          Perhaps it refers to the Fyansford primary school which may have been used back in 1941 as                    the base for a local militia...



Can some old-timer or army personnel throw light on the situation by translating the jargon?

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Thanks, Kerrie? I love it...

These little whispers from the past are always exciting.

Do you know what your GGG uncle's name was and anything more about him? 

I did a search of "Military camps/locations in Australia during ww2" and found no mention of Fyansford. 


Perhaps someone can explain what the initials/abbreviations stood for...

  • 3 T. Bn. No1

  • 3 Tng. Bn. No.3

  • 3 T. Bn. No. 7 / 18 / 33 / 40

  • Tng. S. Fyansford

  • Cmd. Tng. School Fyansford

  • S. Cmd. Training School Fyansford

  • S.C.S.T.S Fyansford

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Were members of your family

part of Fyansford’s history?


Before covid and its restrictions, I embarked on a program of information gathering regarding Fyansford’s history involving both cold-calling and online requests for assistance.


This subsequently involved direct meetings over coffee at a local café or personal home. In other situations bundles of photos / documents were emailed, posted or dropped off at my place.

A great number of community members have contributed to the success of this site.    and I am indebted to them all. I would especially like to acknowledge the following for their time and effort - Evert van Dreven, Andreas Makarewitsch, Dianne Higgins, Paul and Val Synot, John, Neil and Don Gugger, Gary Viccars, GerryKellie Martin, Nathan Cleasby-Jones and Jo Mitchell.


Information gleaned from such interactions obviously ends up on my web-site with, of course, permission of contributors. In many cases, I subsequently produce e-flipbooks for posting and in others self-publish, hard-cover books (3 copies): one for my collection, one for the contributor and one for the Geelong Historical Society. A perusal of relevant web-pages will indicate the extent of these publications.


I found it particularly interesting to read “The Pioneering days of Fyansford” by Bert Wilks; one of the many early documents that came my way. An analysis of the document revealed the following family and other names contained therein. Apparently, our humble township was at that time quite a bustling community:


Joseph Wilks  James Wilks  Henry Wilks  Charles Wilks  Wilks Brothers   Mr. Cyril Synot  Mr. Myles Synot  Mr. Walter Synot Mr. Charles Wyatt  Mr. Charles Kean  Mr. George King  Mr. Henry King  Mr. Alfred King Mr. James Spalding   Mr. Josiah Windmill  Captain Fyans  Captain Collins, Mrs Wonsor   Mr. E. Hopton  Burgess  Dawes  Mr. and Mrs. McCurdy, Mr. and Mrs. James McFarlane  Mr. Alexander McFarlane Dr. William Kingston Baylie  Dr. Green   Dr. Hope   Dr. Blundell   Percy Blundell, Messrs. Collier  Robertson  Mr. H. Robinson  Mrs.Greenwood  Petrie, Messrs. Bright  George Wright  J.C. Carr  Myles  Mills   Mr. Robert Kilpatrick, Mr. Frederick Hobbs   Messrs. Barthold and Lowe   Mr John  Mr. Baum, Miss Emmeline Hopton  Charlotte Hopton   Granny McCaskill  Mrs. McDonald, Misses Walker  McLennan  Miller  Clarke  Patton  Mrs. Chirnside, Mary Ann King (now Mrs.Olney)   Selena King (now Mrs. Warren), Revs. Snodgrass   Tyson  George Shipway


Earliest Pioneer Farmers   Mr. Victor Cornu   Messrs. John McCarthy   Mr Highett, Michael Casey   Tomas Mackrell   Mr. C. J. Whyte   Mr. Sach   Mr. Gavin, Messrs. T. Heard  Pegg  Gugger brothers  Aschleman  Giroud  William McCarthy, Mr. John Dear  Mr. Dardel  Mr. John Highett  Mr. Henry Collins   Mr. William Henry, Mr. Westcott   Mr. Gray  James Riley  Mr. Peter McCann   Mr. W. B. McCann, Mr. T.J. Noske   Donald McCaskill  M. 0’Callaghan  Jim Connolly, Archdeacon Macartney  Mr. W. Kirhene  Mrs. Littlewood    Mrs. Hoggart, Mrs. & Miss McNaughton   Messrs. Aikenhead, Eason and Miller, Messers. P. Miller, John Robinson, Matthew Foggo and O’Brien, Captain Volum, Mr. Andrew Volum and Mr.Duckor, Francis Crofts Love, Richard Matthat, William Hicks and Richard Skews


Fyansford Bridge   Messrs. Sayers Bros   Fyansford hotels  Manifold Heights, Balmoral Hotel  Fairview Hotel  Swan Hotel  Junction Hotel  Friend in Hand, Swanville 2  Riverside  Synot’s Mill  Meltham  Dietrich’s vineyard, Buckley’ Caves  Cement works  APC Company  First Church, Paper Mill   First State School  Fyansford Hill  Toll-gate  First Post Office 

I would love to hear from descendants of any of these early Fyansfordites; particularly if their association continued for any length of time. I can always check my copy of the Fyansford primary school register. Unfortunately, however, entries between 1903 and 1934 are not available. In a later post I will list surnames of early pupils at Fyansford primary school.

John Flatt (


What on Earth
has trooper Butcher
got to do
with Fyansford?

One of the absolute delights of being moderator of is that I get to meet so many lovely people.

Each time I visit Max, it's as if he has just lit the fire  in preparation for my visit.
It's snug-n-warm, casual-n-frank, openly genuine,  a perfect sit-n-chat time.
And, Max, ever the perfect gentleman....

I was talking, just this week, with Max.

He  was telling me how he, as a pupil at Fyansford primary (Ca 1938-40)  remembered seeing soldiers on horseback stopping and eating their rations on the school plantation (west of the school); obviously some sort of field exercise.

He went on to explain how  on the SE corner of the blue-stone quarry, south of the highway (currently a tip), the land was very sandy. It was here that the army had dug a maze of trenches where military training was undertaken. The area was used for 'hand grenade practice'. In fact, Max remembers walking through the area while the soldiers were near-at-hand. He explained that it was a light horse base of activity. He recalls seeing men in uniform with plumed hats. 

When war came Ca 1940-42, some navy staff worked at the iceworks (old paper mill) assembling sea mines (See
Rambling Rod's photos). The army moved its base to Frogmore with men billeted in tents.  They then became part of the armored division with tracked 'bren gun carriers'. As the war gathered momentum, the base was disbanded with men moving elsewhere.

It was at this point that something twigged and I remembered
Kerrie Wearne Harrison's post (See above).

Could this have been the base referred to in Kerrie's email? I have since shown Kerrie's notes to Max who was please to see the dates confirming his recollections but he knew nothing of the various abbreviations....

If there is anyone out there who can throw light on this issue, it'd be much appreciated.

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South Australian Light Horse Re-enactment by Reenact SA

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remnants from former times




Back in the days when
as a teacher 
I could decide my program content
and teaching strategies
I had a weekly "Thinker" award.

My pupils were encouraged to think creatively....
the more questions the better...

Thinking is a participatory activity.
We don't just look and accept....





Yesterday Rod Morrison posted this photo on Geelong History.

Hmmm!   Intersting!   So!


Rebecca Glover went a bit further asking...

         What happened to the building in the bottom left corner ?

I had previously asked that very same question...

         A resulting search and ongoing investigations lead me to

         a hitherto-unremembered hotel.


One source admitted to seeing, at some time, a large photo of the establishment. Apparently, he reported, day-trippers from Geelong were frequent visitors to the hotel and its amazing gardens.

I have also been told that the "toss of a coin" lead to its demolition prior to the Monier bridge's construction; it could just as easily have been the Belmoral that disappeared from the face of Fyansford.

I have self-published a book, "A Brief History of Public Houses In and Around Fyansford",   a copy of which I will give to anyone with access to the above-mentioned photo or verification that the establishment existed as a pub.

I'm sure many remember the large metal scales on which, for a penny, we could weigh ourselves while waiting at the busy bus-stop outside the Geelong post office (perhaps after watching a movie at the Plaza), that feeling of quiet grandeur on entering the post office, of straddling the two large lions outside the town hall, cheering the gala day procession and watching the early traffic lights as they changed green / amber / red / amber / green...;  mere remnants of early memories.                                                                            
Just as surely there was great hurly-burly around this Fyansford site 150+ years ago...




Mere remnants...

A beautiful morning, with good light... Who could resist? 
I was on my daily exercise walk (
with Archie) along a track well worn by countless hooves of bullocks and horses and men from times gone by. I could almost hear the crack of whips and the rumble of old wagon wheels on rocks. I can imagine Cabbage Tree Ned and his passengers as they head off mid-morning toward the western district, the miners as they began the day's trudge to the goldfields or those bullockies resting their teams before attempting the Fyansford hill on their final dash for Geelong. The quiet smell of native fauna followed me as I walked this path....

Click picture to see
images, text and viewing arrows.




Back then...

when Fyans' Ford was, in fact, a place to drive, ride or walk through... 

For its first two decades Fyans Ford was a locality with a limited number of holdings and a sprinkling of simple dwellings. For these early settlers, the shallow section of the Moorabool was a natural crossing point or ford on the road between Geelong and the Western District. 
The first European to take up residence adjacent to the ford was Captain Foster Fyans, who in 1837 was appointed as police magistrate for Geelong.

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Fyans ford 1846 Charles Norton

 A locality to drive through

With the first bridge across the Moorabool being built in 1854,  the route to the Western District became more established. The number of settlers grew and local businesses sought to take up positions adjacent to the bridge. Gradually, a small township grew with a post office in 1859, a common school (No.913) in 1867 and in 1876 the Barwon Paper Mill opened. Local agriculture continued to expand.




in the news...

Definitely, the place to be seen...... 

As Fyansford grew over the years, local producers, agricultural enterprises, both large and small, and service industries became increasingly important. From the mid to late-1800s the population steadily increased and the township became for Geelong gentry the place to visit and be seen.

In 1860 a wood engraving by Samuel Calvert was published in The news letter of Australasia, no. 50, featuring people strolling on a path by the Moorabool.  In 1856 Fyansford was featured in a satirical article in the Melbourne Punch.

I'd like to imagine elegant ladies strolling along the Parade in attire such as shown in the picture. And that, perhaps, a local eatery provided tea, scones and cream and that our public houses catered for such refined gentlefolk..

Click picture to see images, text and viewing arrows.




Fyans! Fyans?

Who was Fyans?  Captain Foster Fyans
Foster Fyans was the first European to live in the locality, now known as Fyansford,

back in 1837 when he was appointed as police magistrate for Geelong..

What was Fyans Ford?  A ford crossing the Moorabool River
The ford, a shallow river crossing, named after Captain Foster Fyans was located approximately 350m up the Moorabool River from its junction with the Barwon River.

What was Fyansford?  More than just a place to drive through
Fyansford, on the route from Geelong to the western district, became increasingly popular as a watering hole for bullock teams, a place of respite for those heading for the Ballarat goldfields or further afield and, being located in the fertile Moorabool valley, an ideal locality for a range of agricultural ventures.

Developmental Mapping

With the help of Google Earth

Click picture to see images, text and viewing arrows.





Change is an inevitable way of life...
This series of images reflects the changes forever going on around us.

Click picture to see
images, text and viewing arrows.

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