Fyansford Paper Mill
Hubcaps to Creative Hubs. Part Three: Fyansford Paper Mill
Made by Nicholas Searle and Dr Cristina Garduño Freeman
for Deakin University, University of Melbourne and Creative Geelong, Short Film, 2018
University of Melbourne
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From their opening in the mid-1880s, the Fyansford Paper Mills were the largest and most advanced in the Southern Hemisphere. Technologically impressive then, the mills’ design remains a marvel, managing the seemingly impossible double-act of fitting into a riparian landscape while standing tall as a symbol of Victorian era industrial ambition.
Owner and manager Alex Robins describes the site as an Industrial Cathedral; and if you traverse the winding road to the mills (or check out this video) you will see why.
The Fyansford Paper Mills’ salvage and restoration is a remarkable process of “creative conservation” which has incorporated a painstaking array of detail. This includes the working with the buildings’ industrial patina, fine-grained details like the original specifications used to restore long-rotted wooden columns, and the need for a community of stewardship to form around the buildings.
The mills produced paper for around 40 years from various waste products using an intensive production process. It was hard and dirty work, and technological advances and government outsourcing led to the mill closing in the 1920s, after which it has had a range of uses while gradually falling into disrepair.
Uniquely for an industrial building, the mill has a unique connection with the earth around it. Powered by the waters of the Barwon River, its distinct bluestone blocks that form its sheer scale were hewn from around the site.
Today, the mill hosts a creative community that draws uniquely from the surrounding environment: from a local winery, to galleries and cafes, a mosaic studio and even a furniture maker that uses recycled automotive parts; quite possibly even from Geelong’s now-defunct Ford Factory. The site’s layout is full of large spaces and mazy corners, with secrets waiting to be unearthed.
Film Music Credits:
Arms of Heaven - Aakash Gandhi
Eagle Rock - Wes Hutchinson
Little Drunk Quiet Floats - Puddle of Infinity
Where I am From - Topher Mohr and Alex Elena
One Step Closer - Aakash Gandhi
Avec Soin Romance - Kevin MacLeod
Memory Lane - Kevin MacLeod
Cold Funk Funkorama - Kevin MacLeod
Strolling Through - Silent Partner
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