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THE OLD WINDMILL
This heritage listed site is the OLDEST SURVIVING BUILDING IN QUEENSLAND.
It was built in the late 1820's and used by Convicts to grind grains such as wheat and maize. The grinding was done by a treadmill with wind powered sails in 1828, these sails are no longer on the Windmill. The Treadmill was also used for punishment.
In 1862, the Windmill became the 1st home of the Queensland Museum, then later on was used as a Signal tower and Weather Observatory. Near the end of the 19th Century the tower was encased in cement render to protect the brick & masonary from water damage.
The Windmill is also known as the place where in 1841, two Aborigines were hung from a beam on an upper window of the Windmill. There is a Heritage Notice at the Windmill with all the details.
The SPRING HILL FREE BUS makes a stop here.
- Historical Travel
The varied history of Queensland’s oldest building
An illustration of Brisbane’s ongoing redevelopment is that just two convict-built buildings remain from its early days, though admittedly many of the early buildings would have been built of timber. One of the two buildings is the former Commissariat Store (now occupied by the Historical Society), where the lower levels are of convict origins. The other is ‘The Mill’, seen here, which dates from 1828 and is Queensland’s oldest building.
The mill was built as a windmill to grind the penal station’s grain, this being the reason for siting it on a ridge above the city. But whether the winds were too light and infrequent or the design wrong, it soon was fitted with an external treadmill to be driven by convicts. From all accounts, working the treadmill was a dreadful task and often used as a form of punishment. Free settlement in 1842 brought an end to the colony’s convict era and new uses for the mill.
In the 1860s, the old mill began to be used for shipping and meteorological observations and as a flag station to signal shipping. Later, the large copper ball was raised and dropped at 1300 daily as a time signal – which continued until 1930.
The tower’s other significant claim to fame, largely ignored, is that the first television signals in the southern hemisphere were transmitted from it by experimenters in April 1934 – long before TV commenced in most places. These experimental TV broadcasts continued until WW2: it's interesting that, recently, a commercial TV network has loudly claimed as “Australia’s first TV” the commencement of its broadcasts in Sydney and Melbourne somewhat later during 1956!
More recently, careful restoration and conservation work was carried out in 1988, to ensure the mill will survive into the future. The interior of the tower is not open to the public. Curiously, although it features on the cover of the brochure by Brisbane’s Living Heritage Network, it is not mentioned inside or on the brochure’s map (or in Brisbane's glossy "Official visitors' guide")!
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Brisbane's Oldest Surviving Building
Located on top of the hill in Wickham Park this windmill constructed by convicts in 1828 to grind flour and maize meal as food for the Moreton Bay Penal Settlement. The mill operation ceased in 1842, however the mill has had a variety of uses since then, including Signal Station, Fire Lookout, and pioneer radio and television broadcasting experiments. Adjacent to the mill remains the water resovoirs. Entry to the mill is available at specific times, it was closed at the time we visited.
- Historical Travel
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The Old Windmill
Brisbane began its life as a penal colony and some of the relics of the early days remain, the Old Windmill in the city centre is a reminder of those days.
The Old Windmill built by convicts in 1828. The treadmill was used for both grinding corn and punishment.
The old windmill built by...
The old windmill built by convicts in 1828. The treadmill was used for both grinding corn and punishment
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