Smith's Flour Mill (former) | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Smith's Flour Mill (former)

Item details

Name of item: Smith's Flour Mill (former)
Other name/s: Smiths Flour Mill
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Manufacturing and Processing
Category: Mill (Grain) - Wheat
Location: Lat: -32.7461889461 Long: 151.5804667690
Primary address: 91 Newcastle Road, East Maitland, NSW 2323
Parish: Maitland
County: Northumberland
Local govt. area: Maitland
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Mindaribba
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP785381
LOT2 DP785381
LOT3 DP785381
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
91 Newcastle RoadEast MaitlandMaitlandMaitlandNorthumberlandPrimary Address
New England HighwayEast MaitlandMaitlandMaitlandNorthumberlandAlternate Address
Mill StreetEast MaitlandMaitlandMaitlandNorthumberlandAlternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
 Private29 Mar 99
Frost Associates Pty LtdPrivate 
Kilaben Bay Pty LtdPrivate29 Mar 99

Description

Builder/Maker: John Smith
Construction years: 1844-
Modifications and dates: adapted to a steam-driven mill
Current use: tourism, retail
Former use: Flour Mill

History

Historical notes: As early as 1830 emancipated convict John Smith, man of property, insisted on calling himself 'Gentleman Smith'. Despite the opinions of the Mitchells and other free settlers, Smith was determined to do well. He no doubt felt self-satlsfied when his carriage was used by Governor Fitzroy on a vice-regal visit to the Hunter Valley in 1847. It is possible that Smith named a road that traversed his Wallis Plains farm 'Fitzroy Road' as a personal compliment to the Governor on this occasion.

In 1838 Smith advertised a 250 acre farm at Wallis Plains to let, for five to seven years, ideal for newly-arrived emigrants.'

In 1855, when the East Maitland and West Maitland communities were debating where the government should build a definitive courthouse, Smith had a lengthy letter printed in the Maitland Mercury, telling readers, and posterity, of his past and present largesse. He wroteL
'I have accommodated the community with a court house for ten or twelve years for a very trifling expense; and I should have no objection to giving half an acre of land for the purposes of a court house, providing it shall be erected'.

In this letter he claimed that he was the oldest settler on the Hunter River, and stated:
' The Maitland district was established in October 1818, by Governor Macquarie. Two others, with myself, were permitted to selecte each a farm in any part of Maitland where we thought proper, and he gave me a written order that I should have the first choice. This indulgence was given for the services rendered on the occasion. All three of us fixed on land in East Maitland, considering it was the best place for a township.'

The 'occasion' was probably Macquarie's visit to the district in August 1818. In the letter Smith avered, that, in the great flood of 1819:
'I was one of those who, on that occasion, went to West Maitland to take some of the settlers from the tops of their houses, in a large boat, and landed them on the hill behind the old courthouse.'

Smith's substantial steam flour mill at East Maitland was no longer economical when wheat growing declined in the Lower Hunter from about the 1860s. However in 1868 he came up with a proposal to form a company to turn the building into a woollen cloth manufactory. No investor came forward. Smith died in 1870, without seeing this plan materialise.

Smith and his wife Mary are buried in the Christ Church cemetery, Newcastle. He is an interesting pioneer, having lived a long and active life, many records survive that reveal his character, dealings and achievements. They illustrate how a man might do well in colonial society, moving from lowly convict status to that of a self-appointed 'gentleman' of considerable wealth and property, albeit one that many other more respectable people thought lacking in gentility and good manners (Hunter, 2012).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Flour milling-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Retailing-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Developing Commercial Enterprise-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Adapted heritage building or structure-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from rural to tourist-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Selecting land for pastoral or agricultural purposes-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Selecting land for pastoral or agricultural purposes-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Creating landmark structures and places in regional settings-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with John Smith, emancipated convict, entrepreneur, miller, property owner-

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act Building & garden maintenance


Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1): (1) The maintenance of any building or item on the site where maintenance means the continuous protective care of existing material.
(2) Garden maintenance including cultivation, pruning, weed control, the repair and maintenance of existing fences, gates and garden walls, concrete and other hard standing areas and tree surgery but not extensive lopping.
Jun 3 1988
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0023702 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0023713 May 83 712125
Local Environmental Plan 199303 Sep 93 985524

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Smith's Flour Mill (former) View detail
WrittenHunter, Cynthia2012Bound for Wallis Plains - Maitland Convict Settlers
WrittenHunter, Cynthia2002Central Maitland Riverside Precinct Hunter River Historical Study

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045328
File number: S90/05698 & HC 32607


Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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