You are here

Culture and heritage

The Anderson brothers arrived on the goldfields from Scotland in 1851. After success as diggers on the Goldfields they became saw millers, supplying timber for the gold industry from their Wombat Forest sawmills.

In 1861, with money generated from the gold and timber industries, they built Anderson's Mill to tap into the local agricultural and population boom.

The building was designed by John Anderson, who trained as a millwright in Scotland. The height of the building reflected the need to use gravity in the milling process and the siting to utilise the water from Birch Creek. The Anderson family owned and operated the Mill for almost 100 years, through boom times, depression and war.

Despite its impressive beginnings, the prosperity of the Mill was short lived. Railway lines bypassed Smeaton and the centre of wheat growing gradually shifted north and west. Wide annual variations in wheat harvests also made it difficult for small-scale local millers to obtain regular supplies.

After the Mill closed in 1959, most of the machinery was sold for scrap. For almost 20 years the building stood unused. In 1974 it became one of the first buildings to be included on the Historic Buildings Register. Much needed repairs were made and the Mill was finally purchased by the State Government in 1987. Restoration began in earnest to preserve the history and beauty of the Mill. The building is now listed on the National Estate Register of the Australian Heritage Commission as well as the Historic Buildings Register and is also classified by the National Trust.

What you see today is the culmination of hard work and dedication from conservation professionals, local groups and government departments involved in the restoration program.