Foster Fyans was a significant figure in the European settlement of Victoria and the dispossession of its Aboriginal people.
Fyans, who began his career as an impecunious Irish junior officer in the Napoleonic wars, eventually made his way to Australia, where he was appointed captain of the guard at Norfolk Island. There, in response to a convict uprising, he gained in more recent times the unfortunate, likely unwarranted epithet ‘Flogger Fyans’.
Fyans’ subsequent career in Victoria as a magistrate and Commissioner of Crown Lands shines a light on the early European settlement of the colony and the settlers’ clashes with Aboriginal people. John Cary also most interestingly reveals Fyans’ changing response to their dispossession.