Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Art at the old Paper Mill

from w
In the Addie today is great uews for a revival of usefulness for the old Paper Mill at Fyansford above Buckley's Falls.

FYANSFORD’s old paper mills could be transformed into an arts precinct with a function centre and low-density housing.
The heritage-listed network of buildings are already used by a collection of businesses ranging from wire-woven heritage-style fencing to mosaic classes.
Touring the site ahead of the public open day on Saturday, owner Alex Robins revealed he’d been talking to the council about his plan for a boutique hotel, main hall wedding and conference venue or restaurant and a strip of housing on either end.
“History belongs to everyone not just the person who owns the building,” Mr Robins said.
“Whatever happens it’s got to be done sympathetically.”

Mr Robins said he’d owned the State’s third paper mill for the past 15 years and was in no rush to develop, but with sewerage and infrastructure now connected, the timing was right.
In the meantime, Mr Robins has worked to protect the bluestone buildings, cleared 250 tonnes of hard rubbish from the river banks and constructed walking trails.
“I’m not panicked but (starting) in the next 12-18 months would be nice because the momentum has started now,” he said.
“We want to keep the history and structurally it’s very sound with solid rock foundations.”
Mr Robins estimated the main mill building would take 12-18 months to restore while art tenants continued to restore their own studio spaces.
He said the site would be transformed in four stages, the last of which would be the residential element.
Ubu Gallery owner Marcus Johnson, who has arranged the family open day, said the mill site — built in 1878 — was a hidden gem.
His gallery inside one of the bluestone buildings will also celebrate its opening night on Saturday.
“Everyone who’s seen (Mr Robins’ plans) has said it’s a great idea, it will drive the revival of Geelong,” Mr Johnson said.
“I saw (the gallery space) and thought ‘I don’t know what I want to do with it but I want it.
“I’ve fallen in love with Geelong and there’s no way I could do this in Melbourne.
“For me it’s a privilege to be here.”
Mr Johnson said hundreds of people had already joined the event’s Facebook page and he was hoping it would get people sharing their memories and old photos of the site.

The mill site on 100 Lower Paper Mills Rd will be open between 10am-3pm. Entry is free and picnics are welcomed.

from the Barwon Blog SATURDAY, JULY 2, 2011
 From Rags to Riches or Just Milling Around?
Nor was wheat-milling the only industry to spring up along the banks of the Barwon. In 1876 as I mentioned in my previous post, a paper mill was in the process of construction on the north bank of the river at Buckley Falls.

On the opposite side of the river from the old wheat mill, this new enterprise - the Barwon Paper Mill - drew its power from a channel running along the northern bank from Baum's Weir to the mill buildings below the Bunyip Pool at Buckley Falls. Unlike the wheat mill on the south bank, the paper mill and the complex of buildings which were associated with it, are still remarkably intact and as such are one of the most significant surviving examples of 19th century industry in the country. It is also one of the earliest and longest running examples of paper-milling in Australia and was operational until 1923.
At the time of its opening, the complex was at the forefront of paper-making technology and its backers included such notable Geelong names as Silas Harding, James and Andrew Volum and William Francis Ducker. 

The mill buildings themselves were constructed from bricks and locally quarried bluestone with corrugated iron and the equipment was powered by a water turbine wheel whose performance was enhanced by an impeller housed in a tower which can still be seen facing onto the river. Likewise, the water race is clearly visible carrying water from the weir along its full length until it reaches the mill where in times of adequate supply, it tumbles down to the rocks below and back into the river.

These mill buildings and their associated machinery were designed and built by the engineer Andrew Millar. The six workers' cottages and manager's house which also form part of the complex were designed by the Geelong architect Joseph Watts a couple of years after the original buildings in 1878. The cottages are the earliest example of company housing to be built in this state. They are still occupied as private residences and if the noises I heard last week are anything to go by, at least one is currently being renovated.
Originally, they were used to house some of the 200 men whom it is estimated, worked in the mill, making over 40 different types of paper.
Unlike today, paper-making processes in the Victorian era - and for 2000 years beforehand - relied on the pulping of old rags, rather than that of wood fibres and the Barwon Paper Mill was no different in this respect. The rags went through a number of treatments designed to break the fibres into small enough pieces to be formed into paper.
An curious side effect of using rags, was the need to first remove any old buttons or fastenings which may still be attached to the cloth. This task was undertaken by women whose job it was to sit and remove the unwanted attachments. Once removed, the buttons were simply dumped in a pile near the mill site. It was this practise which gave rise to the name Button Hill for the land which rises to the east of the mill. According to descriptions by the Victorian Heritage Database, there are hundreds of thousands of buttons, beads and other clips and fastenings on the hill made from bone, ceramic, glass, metal and other substances. The site is located partially on private property which does not belong to the mill and currently still awaits comprehensive archaeological examination.

 In 1888, upon the death of Captain James Volum, on of the principal proprietors, the partnership dissolved and the complex was sold to the Victorian Paper Manufacturing Co Pty Ltd who in turn on-sold it in 1895 to the owners of two other paper mills in Melbourne and Broadford. The three mills were then run jointly under the name of the Australian Paper Mills Co Ltd.

After paper production ceased, the complex was taken over for the manufacturing of ice before being commandeered in 1941 for use by the navy during World War II. Nowadays, the mill is privately owned and whilst no longer used for its original purpose, the buildings are utilised by a number of small businesses which operate out of the site. Unfortunately for those of us who are interested, this has the disadvantage of excluding access by the general public to the mill complex. So, for the present we will have to continue as I have done for several decades now, to view the mill from the south bank of the river.


Blogger Constantine said...

They have a list of approved caterers and valet parkers which you are required to choose from. The event coordinator at New York wedding venues was very professional and cool enough to let us come in and tour on a Saturday while another wedding was setting up.

1:30 AM  

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