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"A Living History"
In a postcard setting on the banks of Birch's Creek on the southern edge of Smeaton, Anderson's Mill stands as a powerful reminder of an industry that flourished after the gold rush of the 1850's.
Standing today much like it was over 100 years ago, the five-storey bluestone building and its magnificent iron water wheel are still in place. Anderson's Mill is located 13 kilometres north of Creswick, in an area well known for it's fertile volcanic soils and goldmining past. Construction of the flour mill commenced in 1861 and it was operational within six months. The oat section of the Mill was completed by the following harvest.
Outbuildings such as the stables, grain store and bluestone office were added later as the operation expanded.
The water wheel was developed from designs by John Smeaton and the patterns cast locally in Ballarat at Hunt and Opie's Victoria Foundry. Water was collected from Hepburn Lagoon, about five kilometres from the Mill, then released into Birch's Creek before being channelled into the water race to turn the wheel.
The amount of water required depended on the product being processed. The person operating the release gates at Hepburn Lagoon would be asked to release "half oats water" or "full flour water" for the shift's operation.
Anderson's Mill looking from the north east at the east side as it is today.
Anderson's Mill more than a century ago, before many trees were planted in the vicinity.
The Mill looking from the west side as it is today. Image recorded late afternoon.