For over a half century the huge cement storage silos have sat majestically atop the Fyansford hill overlooking the Barwon and Moorabool valleys, the You Yangs, Geelong and the Corio Bay. Visible to all new arrivals from the western district and the majority of Geelong's inhabitants, this familiar landmark has been a comforting sign of stability and permanence. As a reflection of the past it has become a mental image familiar to so many locals.
I can imagine how the Moorabool valley might have looked back then to a strapping young native man standing at the top of the escarpment looking down at an untapped Moorabool flowing freely, Aboriginal fish traps at the confluence of the two rivers and native cropping in the rich alluvial soil.
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The Wathaurong people occupied the Fyansford region for more than 25,000 years ~ long before European settlement. They made use of the natural environment – grasslands, wetlands and coastal areas.
They lived, hunted, fished and cropped in ongoing harmony with their little-changing environment....
While fording the Moorabool River was less hazardous than the Barwon, difficulties were incurred navigating the steep south-east wall of the Moorabool valley with resultant casualties and fatalities.
The first European visiting the region was Lt.John Murray in 1802 with Matthew Flinders in the same year entering Port Phillip and charting the Geelong area. This led to settlement of the region with wool becoming the driver for pastoral expansion.
Fyans ford appeared on plans in 1837, when Foster Fyans camped in the area. With Fyans ford providing a convenient
crossing-place across the Moorabool River, the settlement became an important stopping point for pastoralists and others travelling to the western district.
One can only imagine the gasps from westward-bound coach passengers as they crested the Fyansford hill prior to their steep descent to the ford, and the sighs of relief as the eastward- bound passengers gained their first glimpse of Geelong after reaching the top of the hill.
The plight of the the original local inhabitants suffered over the years as a consequence of the increasing number of settlers and traffic through the district.