THE historic Tremain’s Mill site may have featured on the Bathurst landscape since 1859, but a new partnership will see part of it turned into luxury apartments.
The sprawling 8522 square metre site on lower Keppel Street was purchased for an undisclosed sum in May, 2015, and since then its owners Stephen and Glenda Birrell have developed grand plans for its future.
Included in the mill complex is a four-storey industrial building, grain silos and associated structures, the Victoria Stores and the area that contains Bedwells Feed Barn.
Mr Birrell has teamed up with Charles Sturt University’s (CSU) engineering department to develop plans to construct luxury apartments in the timber silos.
Built from Oregon timber, and located just behind the concrete silos, the 100-year-old silos will be retained and the apartments built within them.
“I want young minds that haven’t been constrained by conventional thought and teaching,” Mr Birrell said of his decision to contact CSU.
There are 18 wooden silos at the mill, in two groups of nine, and all up they have a capacity of 90 tonnes.
I want young minds that haven’t been constrained by conventional thought and teaching.Tremain's Mill owner Stephen Birrell
CSU Professor of Engineering and course director, Jim Morgan, will mentor the four second-year engineering students who have been tasked with creating the design.
“The chance for a student engineer is once in a lifetime,” he said. “This project is very unique.”
In his 42 years as an engineer, Prof. Morgan said he had “never had an offer like this”.
The four students have already visited the site, taken measurements and had brainstorming sessions on initial design ideas.
And now, they have just a couple of months to create a design for the luxury apartments.
Mr Birrell said he wants new ideas that respect the heritage of the mill and he feels very confident in the students’ ability to develop a structurally sound design.
The final number of apartments has not yet been decided.
One stipulation Mr Birrell had for the engineering students was that the apartment complex must have a roof top garden.
“I’d like to see the engineering problems solved in a brilliantly contrived manner,” he said.
The luxury apartments are not the only plans for Tremain’s Mill, with Mr and Mrs Birrell hopeful that the site will become a meeting place for the community in the future.
Restaurants, shops, landscaped areas and a place for a drink after work are also in the works for the heritage site.
A milling museum is also planned, and the idea already has the backing of the Australian Technical Millers Association.
Work has also begun on bringing the two-storey Victoria Stores building on Keppel Street back to its former glory and then converting it into two ground floor shops with luxury apartments above.