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© John Flatt 2015

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.

Click arrows to view

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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.

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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.

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.

I have no doubt that Buckley

at some time appreciated the view from atop Fyansford hill.

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

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 currently in

progress.