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Theft of Important Historical Artefact from Andersons Mill

Wednesday 2 April, 2014

One of the most historically important artefacts stored at Anderson’s Mill has been stolen. The five storey bluestone mill, built in 1862, is located on Birch Creek in Smeaton about 30km north of Ballarat. The Mill was powered by an impressive 25 ton iron water wheel which was manufactured locally by the Hunt and Opie Victoria Foundry in Ballarat in 1861.

Parks Victoria Rangers were shocked to discover that the most significant casting pattern of the centre hub of the water wheel had been stolen.

“The theft is believed to have occurred sometime between Sunday afternoon 23 March and Tuesday 25 March and was reported to the local police” said Karen Doyle Ranger in Charge, Southern Goldfields.

The existence of such early casting patterns is extremely rare and it’s thought that those at Andersons Mill may be the earliest surviving set of casting patterns in Australia. The Mill is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register and the casting patterns are included in the designation as significant heritage objects. Removal of the casting pattern from the site is an offence under the Victorian Heritage Act 1995. The Mill is also classified by the National Trust.

Karen said “Many will be deeply saddened by the loss of this important historic artefact which had been cared for and retained on site by the Anderson family and more recently by Parks Victoria for over 150 years. At this stage we would be willing to accept the return of the pattern without further question.”

The Mill was purchased by the State Government in 1987 as a Bicentennial gift to the people of Victoria and is managed by Parks Victoria. Parks Victoria and the local community celebrated its 150th anniversary last year with a lively on site festival.

Andersons Mill is also the venue for the popular annual Food Wine and Jazz Festival in April each year. This year it will be held on Sunday 6th April 2014.

Anyone with information on this incident can call the Parks Victoria Creswick office on 53214800

or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Media enquiries

Sally Nowlan

Parks Victoria media centre

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