Calling all Ghosts of Grain Milling: Australian Milling Museum
Thu May 31 at 8:00 am - Sat June 30 at 5:00 pm
The soon-to-be established Australian Milling Museum (AMM) (in Bathurst NSW) is calling on farming families and communities across Australia to dig through their sheds and conjure up their property’s old heritage milling equipment and the stories that go with them, says the owner of Tremain’s Mill in Bathurst, Mr Stephen Birrell.
The history of grain milling in Australia is being researched by Dr Jess Jennings to provide a timeline and backstory for the AMM, but it is critical to establish a great collection of heritage artefacts because they truly bring history to life for the public benefit.
Recently Dr Jennings followed some leads on how Miller’s Point in Sydney got its name, which led to finding an unpublished dataset of around 700 grain mills across NSW, as compiled by a now retired economic historian from Sydney University, Prof Sybil Jack. This NSW history tells us there must be a lot of equipment just lying about and we’d love to know what people have got and what they know about it.
Dr Jess Jennings: “This dataset was an incredible find because it has taken hours of time and travel to pull all the information together, and it demonstrates just how important the milling of grain was to NSW’s early economic development from 1788 to World War 2.”
“The fact that so many mills existed across NSW alone, and other states which are better documented, gives us cause to believe that a lot of old grain milling equipment must still be out in paddocks and fields all over the countryside.
Mr. Stephen Birrell: “We know there’s milling equipment out there and that many family properties -especially those larger and more remote, ground their own grains to make flour and bread through sheer necessity when roads were poor and the distances vast. We are very keen to see what’s out there and what might be worthy of displaying in the proposed museum.
However, just as importantly, we want the stories of those pioneering families who used this milling equipment to keep their families fed. We’re hoping their descendants may still have some family archive material that could tell their stories.
The museum will not only tell the history of milling equipment and families in Australia, it will also serve as a repository for books, photographs and other documents that would otherwise disappear.
So, we’re calling on the Ghosts of Milling Past to give up their ‘treasures’ and tell their stories for future generations. The AMM will be an opportunity to create a spiritual and physical home of the Australian grain milling industry through its public displays, a reference library, and an archive and milling equipment repository.”
“The AMM will be the first of its kind in Australia, and quite probably the world, and definitely a big first for Bathurst. The AMM will reside within the old Tremain’s Mill complex, at 11 Keppel Street, Bathurst, NSW and is expected to open late in 2019.”
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