The Old Windmill, Brisbane

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The Old Windmill
The Old Windmill, Wickham Park
Mill name The Old Windmill
Mill location Spring Hill, Queensland
Coordinates 27°27′55″S 153°01′22″E / 27.465256°S 153.022867°E / -27.465256; 153.022867Coordinates: 27°27′55″S 153°01′22″E / 27.465256°S 153.022867°E / -27.465256; 153.022867
Year built 1828
Purpose Corn mill
Type Tower mill
Storeys Four storey tower
No. of sails Four sails
Heritage notice about the Old Windmill, Wickham Park

The Old Windmill is a heritage-listed tower located in Wickham Park, on Wickham Terrace in Spring Hill, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It is the oldest surviving building in Queensland.[1]


The Old Windmill was built in 1828[2] during colonial times by convicts for grinding grains, such as wheat and maize. The Old Windmill originally had wind-powered sails. The grinding of the grains was done by treadmill from October, 1828, with the wind-powered sails being used from December, 1838, after being repaired by Andrew Petrie. The treadmill was dismantled in 1842 when the convict settlement was closed.

After the murder of two members of a surveying party near Mount Lindesay in May 1840, three Aboriginal men were apprehended and tried for the crimes. In July 1841, the two surviving Aborigines were hanged from a beam from an upper window of the windmill.[3]

Land leases in the wider Brisbane area were issued under s.28 of the Regulations of 29 March 1848 and were nominally one mile square sections within a grid defined by (magnetic) north/south/east-west section lines. The grid had its origin at the convict-built windmill in Brisbane.[4]

On 20 January 1862, the Old Windmill became the first home of the Queensland Museum.

The Old Windmill was later used as a signal tower, and is now used as a weather observatory.[2] Towards the end of the 19th century, the tower was encased in a cement render to protect the brick and masonry from rainwater damage. The current render dates from a 1988 refurbishment, and is scored to imitate the stone blocks it covers.

From 1922 to 1926 the tower served the Institute of Radio Engineers for meetings and experiments, Gympie Radio Pioneer A. E. Dillon 4CH, was the first experimenter to conduct MW tests and transmissions from this tower in late 1921 or early 1922. The Tower was ideally suited for this purpose as it commanded a panoramic view from Moreton Bay in the east, to Darling Downs on the western horizon. Nearby he erected a 150 feet (45m) mast and strung an 80 feet (24m) antenna between it and the Tower - the most impressive configuration of its kind in Queensland at the time.

During the 1930s and 1940s the tower was the venue for pioneer television broadcasting.[2]

The tower was placed on the Queensland Heritage Register in 1992.[1] In 2015 at the Urbne Festival in Brisbane, digital artist Alinta Krauth created the artwork, "Wind blisters those who try to run" exploring the history of the windmill, which was projected on the windmill during the festival. [5] [6]


Paranormal researcher Joe Nickell visited the windmill October 2015 after learning that local paranormal groups considered the site haunted. The stories relate to the deaths of two Aboriginal men who were hanged from the upper window. In his investigation Nickell confirmed these deaths happened, but it was impossible for the execution to have happened inside the tower as "ghost raconteurs" have suggested. An often reported "light in the window" story was found to be typical of ghostlore and according to Nickell, "a simple illusion". In all, the investigation resulted in Nickell stating that the stories of the Tower Mill hauntings are the work "of some percipient's faulty imagination or the creation of a writer of fakelore."[7]


  1. ^ a b "Windmill Tower (entry 600173)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Campbell Newman, "bmag", 3 November 2009
  3. ^ Roberts, Beryl (1991). Stories of the Southside. Archerfield, Queensland: Aussie Books. p. 63. ISBN 0-947336-01-X. 
  4. ^ Shaw, Barry, 1947–; Brisbane History Group (2010), Brisbane : people and places of Ashgrove (1st ed.), Brisbane History Group, p29 ISBN 978-0-9751793-6-9
  5. ^ "Urbne Festival: Alinta Krauth Artwork". Urbne Festival. 
  6. ^ " Alinta Krauth Artwork". Urbne Festival. 
  7. ^ Nickell, Joe (May 2016). "Gallows Ghosts? Mystery at Brisbane's Tower Mill". Skeptical Inquirer. 40 (3): 12–13. 


  • Shaw, Barry, 1947–; Brisbane History Group (2010), Brisbane : people and places of Ashgrove (1st ed.), Brisbane History Group, ISBN 978-0-9751793-6-9

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