An unexpected turn of events led us to The Old Mill in South Perth recently. Despite many years living here, we had never managed to actually visit this lovely icon of Perth’s colonial past. However a large bushfire, which had closed off our intended destination, Kings Park, led to a change of plan.
Situated on the southern foreshore of the Swan River near the Narrows Bridge and the constant flow of traffic from the Kwinana Freeway, it was saved in the late 1950s from the developers’ plan to demolish it to make way for the freeway off-ramp. A dedicated group of campaigners, including the local historical society, persuaded the powers that be to reconsider and the Mill Point off-ramp now winds round south of the mill.
Having undergone refurbishment in 1994, the mill survives to this day as a fascinating link to the early pioneering days of the Swan River Colony.
The mill is open to the public at no cost though donations are greatly appreciated! Owned and managed by the City of South Perth (see here for further details), we were fortunate to be given a guided tour by the lady managing the office, Sylvia, who, passionate about the history and preservation of the mill, gave us some fascinating background information.
The earliest mill was constructed by a young engineer from Winchester who arrived from England in 1829, William Kernot Shelton. At one point in the 19th century under the auspices of “Satan” Browne (so called because of his jet black hair) it was converted into a hotel! We looked round the cottage that was used by the miller and saw the old ovens where the loaves were baked and the extensive collection of historical kitchenware. It must have been such a tough life for those early settlers!
The little canal that led back down to the river has been filled in with locally quarried limestone but you can follow the channel back to the river where there is a lovely little picnic and play area called “Millers Pond”.
We headed off to Angelo Street in South Perth for lunch wondering why it had taken us so long to discover this wonderful gem from Perth’s past!
Copyright © 2018 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved