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-  A signpost

-  A work of art

-  a disappearing act

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. 

 
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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....

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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Kulin Nation Tribes

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Clans of the Wathaurong tribe

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Native Encampment - John Skinner-Prout

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Kulin Nation Tribes

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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.

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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.

View from atop Fyansford Hill
View from atop Fyansford Hill

Fyan's Ford, Barwon River, Geelong Tingle, J. engraver 1857 SLoV

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Looking over Fyans ford from Fyansford Hill
Looking over Fyans ford from Fyansford Hill

View of Fyan's Ford on the Marabool Geelong George Alexander Gilbert Ca 1847 SLoV

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Fertile river flats
Fertile river flats

Fyansford, c.1910

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View from atop Fyansford Hill
View from atop Fyansford Hill

Fyan's Ford, Barwon River, Geelong Tingle, J. engraver 1857 SLoV

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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.

Aboriginal people in the foreground ca1860

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Aboriginal Australian group camped in bush J. Lockwood Studios 1933.

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Eugene von Guérard

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Aboriginal people in the foreground ca1860

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I have no doubt that Buckley

at some time appreciated the view from atop Fyansford hill.

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High Level Points, Fyansford Graeme Kauf
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operational silos

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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.

c1 One of the last steam locomotives to

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.

 

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AFTER silos

The Fyansford silos post-operationally can be seen to have passed through three phases:~

  • A Signpost

  • A Work of Art

  • A Disappearing Act

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A welcoming signpost for countless weary travellers over the years

  • A Signpost

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                               

'Cementies' Make-over...

 
 
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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.

Cement silos under construction

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Cement silos on McCurdy Rd.

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Cement silos under construction

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Evert van Dreven Collection

Kate Klein

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Nick Klein

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Nick Klein

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Kate Klein

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Kate & Nick Klein

Krytie TV
Krytie TV

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Krytie TV
Krytie TV

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Krytie TV

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Kane Airey

The Geelong Cement Works 2012

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The Cement Works 2017

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The Geelong Cement Works 2012

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Ian Hill

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Marcus Wong

Rail Geelong
Rail Geelong

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Rail Geelong 2
Rail Geelong 2

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Rail Geelong
Rail Geelong

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Rail Geelong

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Peter Coffee

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Tony Peach

A.J. Haysom (Flickr)

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Andrew
Andrew

2012

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2018

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A.J. Haysom (Flickr)

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Andrew Haysom

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Dianne Higgins

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Rod Morrison

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David Boekel

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Stephen Kiteley

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Sarah McMahon

Victor Maas

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Janelle Barby

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Victor Maas

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Varied contributors

Hans W Kawitzki

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The incomplete disappearing act...

Video / Clips

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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.  

See: Geelong Advertiser, YouTube Channel, YouTube Videos

Making News...

 

Fyansford.com / JFimages

Feb., 2016 Out walking with Magic

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Mar., 2020 The Demise 1

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Feb., 2018 Walking with RONE

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Mar., / Apr., 2020 The Demise 2

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Mar., / Apr., 2020 The Demise 3

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Clips

#1   #2   #3   #4

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the incomplete disappearing act

 

slowly but surely....