Foster Fyans

This ornate sandstone monument is where Captain Foster Fyans rests.

The edges of his stone have carved coat buttons to signify his past life as a soldier for over 45 years. The monument itself has a Celtic cross, signifying Fyans’ Irish heritage.

Captain Fyans joined the British army as an 18-year-old boy soldier and worked his way up through the ranks. He fought in the Crimea and in Spain and survived a cholera outbreak in India that took 500 soldiers and all the women and children and nineteen officers within a six week period in 1820. 

In 1833 he transferred to the 4th Regiment in Sydney and was posted to Norfolk Island as Captain of the Guard for two years where he took charge in a crisis and handled a murderous convict mutiny. It was during this time that he gained the infamous name of Flogging Fyans.

In 1837 he sold his commission and sailed to Port Philip as the first police magistrate of Geelong. 

He obtained permission to erect the township, chose a site for it and gave it clean water by constructing the breakwater on the Barwon river – using convict labour. He then brought law, order, peace and stability by heading up the region’s first police force. He was seen as fair but firm – and incorruptible – so was promoted further, becoming eventually the commissioner of crown lands, responsible for the area between the Werribee River and the South Australian border.

Foster Fyans stayed in Geelong for the remainder of his life, was involved in local politics and farming and died on 23 May 1870 at his homestead at Balyang. He was 80 years old.

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