Andersons’ Mill Festival, Smeaton

Unlike today which is cold and wet, Sunday, the 2nd of April was cool and dry – a good day to attend the Anderson’s Mill Food, Wine and Music Festival in Smeaton.

Situated in a valley on the banks of Birch’s Creek, the Mill is hidden from view by those travelling along the Creswick Smeaton Road. The 5 storey blue stone building with its iron water wheel was built by the Anderson brothers in 1861. The brothers arrived on the goldfields from Scotland in 1851 and were successful as diggers. They went on to become saw millers supplying the gold industry and built the Mill to take advantage of the local agricultural and population boom.

The Anderson family operated the Mill for almost 100 years until it closed in 1959. The Mill remained empty until it was purchased by the Victorian State Government in 1987 when restoration work began. The Mill is currently listed on the National Estates Register of the Australian Heritage Commission.

The Anderson’s Mill Festival is very much a local community event with Parks Victoria and organisations such as the Hepburn Shire Council and Newlyn Football/Netball Club working together.


On the day of the Festival, the ground and first floors of the Mill were open to the public.



This is the top of the water wheel as seen from the first floor………

……..and this is the wheel at ground level. The wheel was operating on the day although it was not driving anything.

The remains of the grind stones. The Mill processed wheat for flour and also processed oats in an oven.

Most of the Mill’s machinery was sold for scrap when it closed.


The wood chop demonstration was impressive to watch – not for the faint hearted.






This colourful steam engine was worth a second look………

………as was this lovely Clydesdale.




4 Responses

  1. Hi Gail, Yes, the Mill is an impressive building because of its size and height in a rural setting. On display was a small turbine which had been located in the flow of water to the wheel. The turbine generated enough power to provide lighting in the Mill complex.

  2. Mills like this are a lovely piece of history. I find these water wheels really interesting for their use of running water as a source of power.

  3. What a feast of interesting things to look at, you reminded me of the time, so long ago, when I watched wood chopping in Gippsland.

    • Hi Susan, I suspect not much has changed since then. It is interesting that wood chopping competitions are still thriving today.
      During the demonstration, there was a discussion about the value of the axes being used. They were worth much more than I could have envisioned. I can imagine the angst when one man’s
      axe head was written off by a knot in the log he was chopping.

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