|Captain Foster Fyans|
|Current Breakwater Bridge|
One of his most important acts in ensuring the viability of the emerging settlement was to secure its water supply, which he did by directing the building of the breakwater across the Barwon River at what is now the suburb of Geelong which bears this name. After a meeting in Sydney with Governor Gipps at which the site for the new town was established, building began on the breakwater.
The site had been chosen by Fyans who was probably well aware that the indiginous people of the area used the place to cross the river, the water level being only about 18 inches deep and flowing over an outcropping of basalt. The project, which included two large rough stone walls with a clay filling in between, was completed by 1840.
|The approximate site of Captain Foster Fyans' house|
From 1840 onwards, Fyans' role changed to that of Commissioner of Crown Lands for the Portland Bay pastoral district and he took up grazing land in the region of Colac. This included substantial amounts of travel throughout the district.
|Grave of Captain Foster Fyans at the Eastern Cemetery|
In 1843 he was married at Geelong and then in 1845 took up 145 acres of land with frontage to the Barwon River. He named the property Bell-Bird Balyang and on it, he built a stone residence which is believed to have stood close to what is now the Princes Bridge at Shannon Avenue in Newtown. A Sundial with a plaque now marks the approximate location of the Fyans' house.
For some time, Fyans also maintained a property on the north bank of the Barwon a little further downstream as it was announced in the Geelong Advertiser on 30th October, 1854 that he was selling his house and estate of Riversdale which was situated between the properties of JA Gregory (Barwon Banks) and William Roadknight (Barwon Crescent).
His wife Elizabeth lived only until 1858 and was survived by Foster, two daughters and a son. Foster himself remained in his home by the Barwon for the remainder of his life, dying at Bell-Bird Balyang in 1870. He was buried in the Eastern Cemetery with a number of family members and lies only a short distance from another notable Geelong citizen and the father of refrigeration - James Harrison.