Historic Anderson’s Mill in Smeaton will be open to the public for a National Trust Heritage Weekend on May 13 and 14. Entry to the site and buildings is free.

Built in the 1860s, the Mill stands as a powerful reminder of the industry that flourished after the gold rush of the 1850s.

The Mill was built by the Anderson brothers from Ayrshire, Scotland. Initially planned as a flour mill, the brothers added machinery to mill oats and later for barley and split peas. Standing today much as it did when it was constructed, the five-storey bluestone building and its magnificent iron water wheel are still in place.

Outbuildings such as the stables, grain store and bluestone office were added later as the operation expanded.

The water wheel was developed from designs by John Smeaton and the patterns cast locally in Ballarat at Hunt and Opie’s Victoria Foundry. Water was collected from Hepburn Lagoon, about five kilometres from the Mill, then released into Birch’s Creek before being channelled into the water race to turn the wheel.

The Mill site will come alive with displays of heritage crafts, machinery and historical information. The huge iron  waterwheel is still functioning, turning quietly to drive machinery inside the mill. Wimmera Flour will demonstrate grain milling techniques. Local artists will demonstrate printing and embroidery. Flowers, plants and heritage gardening items l be available from The Emporium. There will be face painting, local heritage soaps, olive oils, food and coffee vans and more to see and do.

Andersons Mill is located about 20km east of Daylesford on the Creswick-Newstead Road in Smeaton. The grounds are always open but the Mill itself is only open to the public six days in the year.