BATHURST’S soon-to-be established Australian Milling Museum (AMM) is calling on farming families and communities across Australia to dig through their sheds for their own little piece of history.
The historic Tremain’s Mill is set to become the world’s first milling museum and will not only celebrate local flour milling history, but that of the nation.
Tremain’s Mill owner Stephen Birrell, who purchased the property in 2015, has grand plans for the site to become a new hub for Bathurst.
The AMM will form a vital piece of that hub, as will the stories of those who have milled flour in Bathurst and beyond for thousands of years.
Mr Birrell said Tremian’s heritage flour milling equipment would be included in the AMM, but he hopes to have a lot more.
“We know there’s milling equipment out there and that many family properties, especially those larger and more remote, ground their own grains to make flour and bread through sheer necessity when roads were poor and the distances vast,” he said.
“We are very keen to see what’s out there and what might be worthy of displaying in the proposed museum.
“Just as importantly, we want the stories of those pioneering families who used this milling equipment to keep their families fed.
“We’re hoping their descendants may still have some family archive material that could tell their stories.
“The museum will not only tell the history of milling equipment and families in Australia, it will also serve as a repository for books, photographs and other documents that would otherwise disappear.”
In order to collate the huge amount of research and information required for the AMM, Mr Birrell had acquired the help of Dr Jess Jennings whose keen research skills have been put to work.
Already, Dr Jennings has discovered a database of 700 known grain mills in NSW.
“This dataset was an incredible find because it has taken hours of time and travel to pull all the information together, and it demonstrates just how important the milling of grain was to NSW’s early economic development from 1788 to World War One,” he said.
However, the database, like much of Australia’s milling history is often unpublished and uncollated, but Dr Jennings and Mr Birrell hope to change that with the AMM.
“It’ll help paint a picture of just how important the flour industry has been [to the nation],” Dr Jennings said.
Dr Jennings said the fact that so many mills existed across NSW alone, and other states which are better documented, gave him cause to believe that a lot of old grain milling equipment must still be out in paddocks and fields all over the countryside.
The AMM is expected to open late in 2019.
Contact Stephen Birrell on 0407 415 167 or via firstname.lastname@example.org with your milling equipment and stories.