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.
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....
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.
Click arrows to view
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.
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.
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 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.
I have no doubt that Buckley
at some time appreciated the view from atop Fyansford hill.
Initially cement produced at the plant was elevated into bins and fed into corn sacks for carting by horse drays to Geelong; causing considerable damage to the roadway in Aberdeen Street; particularly in wet weather.
Usage of the line declined by the 1990s as road haulage took over.
A bike path and linear park was provided beside the tracks in the early 1980s. The plant closed in the early 2000s and was progressively demolished.
In 2020 the decision was made to remove the silos; with demolition taking place (Ca February - April).
During 1915-16 the company approached the State Government requesting a rail line between North Geelong and the works. The line was opened in September, 1918.
A despatch department was constructed adjacent to the junction of Hyland Street and Asylum (now McCurdy) Road. "With the first cement silos and baggage and bulk despatch departments being constructed beside the rail siding, a 20-inch belt conveyor system was laid up the hill to the silos. These first silos were of 1,200 tonnes capacity" (1922-1924). John McNeill, p.31.
The Fyansford silos post-operationally can be seen to have passed through three phases:~
A Work of Art
A Disappearing Act
The towering silos atop of the Fyansford hill acted as a beacon to citizens of Geelong travelling to or back from the western district. Even to non-travellers the silos, being visible from most parts of the city and surrounds, remained a familiar marker for fifteen years.
A Work of Art
In 2018 world-renowned street artist Rone returned to Geelong, his home city, to transform the Geelong cement silos overlooking Fyansford into an incredible work of urban art. The artwork became a well-known tourist attraction and even more-popular landmark.
A Disappearing Act
In 2020 it was decided that the cement silos overlooking Fyansford should be removed. Despite opposition from members of the public, demolition commenced in February 2020 and within a few months there was little left of the well-known feature and its remarkable artwork.
a disappearing act
The following gallery portrays the demise of these huge concrete structures. The process, because of its proximity to suburban Geelong and Fyansford and the continual auditory disturbance, become an attraction in and of itself with countless members of the public watching as the silos were disassembled.
These photos and videos have been gleaned from varied social internet sources.
Where possible credit has been given to creators. If anyone would rather their works not be shown or there are misspellings please notify me. Similarly if other members of the community have relevant photos I'd be happy to post them.
The following collection includes a mix of memories from the past and the present.
Evert van Dreven Collection
Kate & Nick Klein
Hans W Kawitzki
Video / Clips
The incomplete disappearing act...
Scott Boyd posted this amazing Silo Artwork, Australia, on You Tube (December, 2018) ~
(4k Footage shot on the Mavic 2 Pro of the Fyansford Cement Works Silo Artwork). I encourage you all to enjoy the Video and give Scott a Subscribe. We need to see more of his amazing drone footage.