Benjamin Singleton's 1838 Steam Flour Mill --
the Union Mills, at Singleton

aka the Union Mill, Singleton Steam Mill

Singleton Mills homepage > Mills at Singleton > The Union Mill at Singleton township

In 1838, Benjamin Singleton opened a steam-powered flour mill beside the very early township of Singleton.

It was built in John Street, Singleton, NSW, on higher ground above the site of his older water-powered flour mill. Benjamin called his new steam mill the 'Union Mills'.

Flour mills built in Singleton in the 1800s included one watermill and seven steam flour mills

The locations of eight mills built in Singleton township in the 1800s.

This is the earliest record that we have found of a steam-powered flour mill built by the Singleton family.  

Description of the Union Mill

Key Facts about Benjamin Singleton's Union Mills

The Union Mill was near 248 John Street, Singleton, beside the access to today's Dunolly Bridge from Campbell Street. It was on the site of the later Phoenix Mill.

The only description that we have found for the Union Mill, so far, stated that the Phoenix Mill was much larger than the Union Mill.

Judging from the structure of similar mills in the town, it was probably two storeys high with an attic (three floors)

It would have had a small steam engine, possibly 10 to 12 horsepower. It would have had at least one pair of millstones, possibly taken from Benjamin Singleton's old watermill.

The engine also ran a pumping system which supplied water to the town.

A two storey steam flour mill at Hackney, SA

No photographs have yet been found of Benjamin Singleton's Union Mills. However, based on the brief description that is available, it may have been similar in appearance to the South Australian Company's steam flour mill at Hackney, SA. Image source: State Library of South Australia. Artist: W.G.P. Joyner.

Benjamin Singleton advertised the services of his new Union Mill in the local press:

An advertisement for Benjamin Singleton's Union Flour Mill in Singleton

Above: a Union Mill advertisement in The Sydney Herald, 27 January 1840.

Sadly in 1842, Benjamin Singleton went bankrupt and money lender, Thomas Burdekin, of Sydney, became the owner of the Union Mill. When Thomas Burdekin died in 1844, ownership of the mill passed to his wife, Mary Ann Burdekin. She renamed the mill, the 'Singleton Steam Mill'.

A terrible fire at the Union Mill

In February 1852, disaster struck. A catastrophic fire broke out and the Union Mills burned down.

To read the full story of Benjamin Singleton's Union Steam Flour Mill, including a dramatic account of the fire and the history of other mills established by the Singletons, download our free PDF:

The Singleton Family Flour Mills at Singleton –
The Hidden History.

Singleton Family Flour Mills at Singleton - the hidden history

Soon after the fire, Mary Ann Burdekin decided to build a new steam flour mill on the site of Benjamin Singleton's Union Mills. She named her new mill, the 'Phoenix Mill'.

Read the full story of the Phoenix Mill, which stood for over 100 years, here.

We would be interested to hear from anyone who has a photograph or further information about the Union Mill. Please contact us.

Researched by Anne and Les Dollin

Further Reading
Overview of Mills at SingletonThe Kurrajong MillsThe Wisemans Ferry Mills