Welcome to Friends of the Old Mill and Miller's Cottage

Friends of The Old Mill (1835) and Miller's Cottage (1837) Point Belches, South Perth is for all people with a shared love and connection to these unique heritage sites.

Situated across the river from the bustling City of Perth and tucked under the wing of the Narrows Bridge this tranquil spot is rich in history, an important site to the aboriginal people and later to the settlement of Perth in 1829. Built six and eight years after settlement The Old Mill and Miller's Cottage remain sentinel to the changes of Perth. The City of South Perth Historical Society operate and sponsor this programme which aims to create a connection between everyone who has an interest in the preservation, upkeep and revitalisation of Australia’s second oldest extant flour Mill and Perth's oldest extant residence.

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The main activity is to inform and be informed of any stories or information which will add to the historical and social background The Old Mill. Communication of future plans and invitations to events important to The Old Mill and Miller's Cottage. There is no fee to become a Friend of The Old Mill and Miller's Cottage. Information regarding the City of South Perth Historical Society and the Old Mill Volunteer group is included in the Friends of The Old Mill and Miller's Cottage welcome pack. The City of South Perth Historical Society members receive three newsletters a year containing reports on our ongoing projects, future plans and dates of upcoming functions. The Society hold four Guest Speaker events and Exhibitions together with other heritage and community events and an annual Christmas BBQ Breakfast. The ability to maintain and create new projects depends on the strength of our membership, we invite you to join the Society - a membership form is enclosed in the Friends of The Old Mill and Miller's Cottage 'Welcome Pack'.

We welcome new Friends to assist us in the conservation of one of West Australia’s oldest industrial sites.

The Old Mill, South Perth

by June Shenton Turner September 2010 for Friends Of The Old Mill

When young engineer, William Kernot Shenton, arrived in the Swan River colony on the Lotus on 6 October, 1829, he brought with him equipment to build a saw mill. Quickly adapting to local needs, he converted it to a horse- powered mill at Fremantle and ground the wheat that came in from overseas. As the colony’s first crops began to yield he moved his equipment to the South Perth peninsular and in 1833 designed a wooden windmill, built by Lockyer and Son, near the point where it would catch the prevailing breezes.

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This mill was kept busy as the expanding acreage under crop brought more grain to its millstones. However it was not secure. In 1834 it was raided by the Murray River natives and 980lbs of flour taken. A more secure mill was needed. William set about erecting a safer, stronger mill of understandably fort-like appearance. A simple ceremony of laying the foundation stone was performed by the governor, James Stirling. This mill was constructed of thick limestone blocks with a cap that could be pivoted to turn the sails into or out of the wind. The natural inlet from Perth Water served as a miller’s pool and a port for vessels while loading and unloading. A spur was cut connecting the pool to the mill for the carriage of goods betweenboat and mill. Again millwrights Lockyer and Son were employed.

By 1836 the cottage beside the mill had been built and the wooden mill turned into a store or warehouse. In 1840 Shenton mortgaged the mill and surrounding buildings to Edward Hamersley (father of Margaret Forrest) although he was still advertising his products. From then until his death by drowning in 1842 he lived on his property at Australind.


I’m sitting here, daydreaming at the mill an autumn morning sunny, cool and still I put the sign out, sweep the leaves up from the floor and struggle to unlock the cottage door: with FM classics on the radio competing with the ceaseless traffic flow, I sit reflecting on the history of Shenton’s Mill and what it means to me: William Kernot Shenton, Lockyer, Steele, were men who put their shoulder to the wheel to overcome the challenges they faced and meet the expectations on them placed by colonists who strove to understand the harsh conditions of a hostile land: they built the mill and helped to grind the wheat and here I sit daydreaming at their feat!

by Mark Hancock (former Manager Library & Heritage, City of South Perth, Old Mill Volunteer and staunch friend of The Old Mill) April 2005

Thank you for becoming a Friend of the Old Mill

Friend Benefits:

  • Information Pack
  • Invitations to functions
  • Newsletter – Friends Focus

As a Friend of The Old Mill you are helping to sustain the revitalisation and recording of history for this significant area. Promotion, development and maintenance works performed by the South Perth Historical Society and the South Perth City Council will be greatly assisted by your support.

As a voluntary organisation the South Perth Historical Society help to develop, extend and support the many and varied components required to bring The Old Mill back to the role it enjoyed in the 1970’s as the premier tourist spot for visitors and residents alike. Financial contributions will assist in the archiving of stories and much more.

Friends of the Old Mill are invited to join The South Perth Historical Society to help with our ongoing programmes and new initiatives to promote and lift the profile of The Old Mill. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or for more details please make contact per email or Post Office Box 8011, South Perth 6951 for more details.

We look forward to keeping you up to date with progress and ‘What’s on’ at The Old Mill, South Perth