The Lower Mill, Kurrajong

aka Wellington, Little Wheeny Creek, Wheeney Creek, Curryjung, Singleton's Mill

Singleton Mills homepage > Kurrajong Mills > The Lower Mill, Wheeny Creek

The second flour mill that is thought to have been established by the Singleton family was known as the Lower Mill or the Wellington. It was located on portion 112 in the Parish of Kurrajong (shown on the map below in purple) about 2k north of Kurrajong. It was built on Little Wheeny Creek which had a constant water flow.

sites of benjamin singleton's two watermills near kurrajong nsw

Above: The site of the Lower Mill, shown in purple; and the site of the Upper Mill, shown in green

This mill site has now been listed on the State Heritage Register, following a proposal supported by the research of Les Dollin, Frank Holland and the Kurrajong Comleroy Historical Society.

Ruins and relics of the mill

Substantial evidence remains of a 200m long millrace which carried water from the Lower Millpond to the Lower Mill. Some sections of this millrace are supported by spectacular stretches of dry stone walls.

les dollin leading an historical society tour of a Singleton watermill at Kurrajong -photo by Anne Dollin

Above: Les Dollin (on right) with a Mill Tour group on part of the long millrace of the Lower Mill.

At the location of the Lower Millpond, loose stones have been found that are believed to have been part of a millpond wall.

There is evidence of work that was done to increase the size of the Lower Millpond, including major excavations into the hillside to widen the millpond and work to increase the height of the millpond dam wall.

There are also cuttings the in the solid rock at the millpond which may have been part of a structure used to test water flow rates in the creek.

A millstone from the Lower Mill was found in the vicinity of the Lower Millpond. This millstone is now on display in Memorial Park, Kurrajong Village. It has a square hole in its centre. Millstones were used in pairs to grind the grain and this stone was the lower stone or Bed Stone which was mounted in a fixed position, underneath the rotating Runner Stone.

It is a Derbyshire gritstone, from the Derbyshire Peak District quarries in England. These stones are commonly called 'Grays' referring to the colour of the stone.

two millstones from the singleton watermills at kurrajong, now in memorial park -photo by Les Dollin

Above: Millstones from the Kurrajong Singleton mills on display at Memorial Park, Kurrajong. The vertical stone is from the Lower Mill and the horizontal stone is from the Upper Mill.

Descriptions of mill

The Lower Mill was built from stone on a solid rock foundation. Evidence on the site examined by Les Dollin suggests that the mill was originally a simple undershot mill. However, probably as finances and technology became available, it was converted to a more efficient overshot mill.

The Millhouse was probably originally constructed from weatherboard.

John Town, a later owner of the property, built a stone mill house behind the mill. This is shown in a fascinating sketch of the Lower Mill done by Esther Gray in 1888:

sketch of the lower watermill at kurrajong by esther gray -courtesy of KCHS

A sketch of the 'Lower Mill,' a watermill on Wheeny Creek, Kurrajong, by Esther Gray, 1888. Courtesy of the Kurrajong Comleroy Historical Society.

Les Dollin determined that the above sketch actually showed the Lower Mill at Wheeny Creek by examining the landforms and rapids in the area and matching them to these shown in the drawing. Then he took hundreds of photos of the creek bed and identified an unusual rock formation on the edge of the creek which was clearly shown in Esther Gray's drawing.

Les found that Esther's drawing was remarkably accurate. Later he was able to identify other pieces of mill infrastructure on the site with the help of Esther Gray's drawing.

***** Further information to come *****

History of the mill

The Lower Mill was built on a portion of crown land that appears to have been originally promised to James Doyle.

This mill must have been built prior to 1820 because a Memorial to the Governor written by the Singleton brothers in that year states that the mill had already been 'created'.

On 10 September 1820, Benjamin and James Singleton wrote a Memorial to Governor Macquarie, stating:

"The Humble Memorial of Benjamin Singleton and James Singleton respectfully showeth …having created two water-mills on Crown Lands, one at Kurrajong, the other opposite the lower branch of the Hawkesbury … beg to remind you of a promise to confirm a proportion of lands on which such mills stand."

As a result of this Memorial, the Singleton brothers were granted ten acres of crown land at the site of each mill.

***** Further information to come *****

Further Reading
The Kurrajong MillsThe Upper Mill at Wheeny Creek, Kurrajong