Monday, July 05, 2010

A kind of Brigadoon near Geelong

from w
Yesterday Peceli and I drove along the new Ring Road skirting Geelong then turned left back towards Geelong and we decided to stop at the tiny town of Fyansford, to take photos, sketch, have some coffee or lunch and wander near the Moorabool River. There was plenty to discover but there wasn't any lunch on Mondays at the hotel!
Then a google search this morning came up with historical photos, but also something about 'Fyansford Green', mis-named, as it's a plan to change the whole nature of this charming place. There’s goes the neighbourhood!

Considered a heritage village, Fyansford’s old-world charm has been challenged by the developers. In the Geelong Advertiser last December the Council agreed to let the developers go ahead transforming the hillside around the Cement Works (now no longer working but the buildings are still there) into little boxes on the hillside. Meanwhle the little village with a population of about 150 is like Brigadoon, out of time, out of place in the 21st century. Not that I am complaining as it is fascinating. Once thriving with three hotels, three schools, two churches, the ford crossing was the place where the seekers of gold crossed the river heading for the gold fields of Ballarat and Bendigo.

This is the spin. ‘Three adjoining development sites on the outskirts of Geelong, Victoria, are being revitalised to facilitate a major residential based redevelopment comprising in excess of 1950 residential lots. The combined sites consist of the former Geelong Cement Works, a former bluestone quarry and non-viable rural land. When combined, the three sites will form a new residential community covering more than 200ha and located just 4km from the City of Geelong's CBD.’

Yesterday Peceli and I discovered the 1900 Monier Bridge, now only for bikes and walking. I had been confused earlier by the two bridges when I was sketching there. We’ve been to Fyansford mainly for wedding receptions at the Truffle Duck (originally the Balmoral hotel) or to Geelong Writers’ gigs in the other Fyansford Hotel or General Store. The Moorabool River had no water recently but at last they’ve let a million or more litres down. Nearby the small Moorabool river joins the larger Barwon River – in the area of Queens Park and the Amateurs Football field.

We discovered a strange set of greenish wooden steps leading up a steep hillside, no notices, but they were inviting so we climbed up 91 steps to find a field of grass, probably belonging to a farmer with a house that looks like a church. Maybe an old church now redundant. Will they need another one for the new development on the nearby hillside? Thousands of new people coming in?

Anyway, we did sketches of the view looking down over Fyansford, the hillside of the defunct Cement Works and the winding road that leads back to Newtown - Geelong.

I still don't know the story behind those 91 steps. Perhaps it's a look-out for tourists with energy. Lucky there isn't a bull in the paddock at the top or is it a short cut for the people living in the old church.

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Anonymous Nifty1940 said...

Great shots of the Fyansford area, including the Cement works. I passed along that road and highway on the way to Stonehaven Football Club in 1956 -1961 and from 1966-1983. I lived for 14 years in the shadow of the chimneys and their trains passed by my door by some 50 feet, daily. My friend owned the Balmoral Art Gallery and purchased the old and derelict "Baloral Hotel (Inn)" in 1972. His brother lived but a few doors windward of the gallery. I also knew and had a chat and cuppa with a number of the old rental cottage occupants on Old Mill Road.

9:32 PM  

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