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The Mill History


Cowra's Oldest Building....

The Cowra Flour Mill circa 1861

The Mill 

In October 1859, twenty eight years after the Cowra was settled, construction commenced in the center of the Cowra township.

The Walsh Brothers were building a flour mill which was to be powered by steam.

The MillThe three story flour mill was built of local granite and sandstone by approximately sixty men.

There was great interest in this new enterprise with the construction regularly reported in "The Bathurst Free Press" and

the "Sydney Gazette" - which was later to be known as the Sydney Morning Hearld.

Opening in February 1861, the town celebrated by holding the Town Ball on the top floor of The Mill.

The flour mills function was to supply the local bakeries in Cowra, Bathurst, Carcoar, Woodstock and as far south as Goulburn with its super fine flour. Due to economic hard times the flour mill closed it's door in 1901, the year of Australian Federation.

The Mill opened its doors again in 1941 during World War II. Cowra was a training base for 80,000 military personnel during this time.

For this short period the mill building operated as a soap manufacturing facility, supplying the ANZACS with much needed soap for their ration packs. By 1942 the doors of the mill were once again closed.

"The Great Flood" of 1952 swallowed up the mill, leaving only the third floor above the water line.

This caused substantial destruction of the interior timber flooring and structure and washed away entirely the external grain and flour storage areas that had previously surrounded the building.

The MillThe vacant mill was purchased by the O'Dea Family of Windowrie in 1995, after more than 90 years of abandonment.

Eldest son Stephen O'Dea, with a group of local builders, welders and stone masons began the reconstruction and refurbishment of The Mill.

After removing twenty six wool bales of pigeon droppings, each of the rotten beams and all of the flooring The Mill was lovingly restored using ninety percent recycled materials.

New beams were sourced fro Echuca in Victoria, replacing the original beams on the ground and first floor.

The cattle yards and an old stock shed from Windowrie were used to create the doors, staircase bathroom vanities and timber tables.

The ceilings in the bathrooms on the second floor are old four gallon kerosene tins from the 1920's.

Other materials include bulldozer blades, rail carriage brake cables and pylon casings.

The Mill, open for breakfast, lunch, coffee wine and events/functions.

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