The Wisemans Ferry Watermills

aka Gunderman, Dillons Creek, Myrtle Creek, Green's Mill, Laybury Creek, Singleton's Mill, Bailey's Mill

Singleton Mills homepage > Wisemans Ferry Mills

Mills established by the Singleton family

After the Singleton brothers established two watermills near Kurrajong, they established three more flour mills on the Hawkesbury River near Wisemans Ferry. All the mills near Wisemans Ferry were built on land ultimately owned by James Singleton.

The Hawkesbury River near Wisemans Ferry is tidal, with water levels rising and falling by about a metre, twice a day. Using a waterwheel, a mill could draw power from this reliable tidal water flow to grind grain, cut chaff or saw timber.

Flour was urgently needed to feed the new British colony at Sydney. Later, as work commenced on the Old Great North Road in the Wisemans Ferry area, there was also a local demand for flour to feed the convict workforce.

Between about 1819 and 1834, James Singleton established three tidal mills on land that he was granted or had purchased in the Lower Portland area. The sites were on or near three creeks that were all known as Mill Creek! However, these creeks were also known by other names. So, to avoid confusion, we will use these other names on this website:
1. Nagles Creek,
2. Dillons Creek or Myrtle Creek, and
3. Laybury Creek.

Click on the links above to read more about the mills in the Wisemans Ferry area.

sites of the three tidal flour mills built by james singleton near wisemans ferry nsw

Above: the sites of the Singleton mills at (1) Nagles Creek, (2) Dillons Creek, and (3) Laybury Creek, near Wisemans Ferry.

Bill Bailey's Mill

Later, a tidal-powered sawmill, called Bailey's Mill, was established at the mouth of Dillons Creek. This mill is believed to have used some machinery and materials from the earlier Singleton flour mill that had been built about 350m upstream.

Local historian, Ian Webb, interviewed Herb O'Neil, a former mill worker, about Baileys Sawmill. Ian produced a fascinating report about Bailey's Mill, with detailed drawings, based on Herb's recollections.

The Dharug and Lower Hawkesbury Historical Society kindly granted us permission to publish Ian Webb's invaluable report as a downloadable eBook:   

To read the full story of Bill Bailey's Saw Mill at Wisemans Ferry,
download our free PDF:

Bailey's Mill – a Rare Australian Tidal Sawmill

Free eBook about Bill Bailey's Mill at Wisemans Ferry, NSW

Ian Webb's in-depth report on Bailey's Mill, including his detailed illustrations; and

commentary and background research by Anne and Les Dollin.

Ian Webb's report, that is based on the recollections of Herb O'Neil, is reproduced with kind permission of the Dharug & Lower Hawkesbury Historical Society.

Three other little-known Wisemans Ferry mills

In the 1890s, two other sawmills were operated at Wisemans Ferry, the first by the Sydney Wood Block Paving Company, and the second by the Colonial Hardwood Company. We have delved into Trove and into company paperwork held by the NSW Archives to bring you descriptions of these little-known mills. Our research suggests that both of these mills may have had links with Bill Bailey's Sawmill.

Then in 1908, Otto Olson built a butter factory over the river from the township of Wisemans Ferry. He also built a substantial steam-powered sawmill beside the butter factory. Read more about Otto Olson's Sawmill.

Further Reading
The Nagles Creek MillThe Dillons Creek MillThe Laybury Creek Mill
Bill Bailey's MillThe mill of the Sydney Wood Block Paving CompanyThe mill of the Colonial Hardwood CompanyOtto Olson's Sawmill