McCrossins Mill | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


McCrossins Mill

Item details

Name of item: McCrossins Mill
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Manufacturing and Processing
Category: Mill (Grain) - Wheat
Location: Lat: -30.6430230853 Long: 151.5001482820
Primary address: Salisbury Street, Uralla, NSW 2358
Parish: Uralla
County: Sandon
Local govt. area: Uralla
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Armidale
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP1127831
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Salisbury StreetUrallaUrallaUrallaSandonPrimary Address
Bridge StreetUrallaUrallaUrallaSandonAlternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Uralla Historical Society IncCommunity Group 

Statement of significance:

McCrossins Mill is of State significance as representing the endeavours of early settlers to determine the agricultural pursuits best suited to various part of New South Wales. While wheat and flour production ultimately failed in the area, McCrossins Mill is a reminder of the trial and error approach to agricultre. McCrossins Mill is also representative of the speculation in industry driven by the Gold Rush, being built to supply that market.
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: John McCrossin
Builder/Maker: Unknown
Physical description: Mill Building
A three storey brick structure facing onto Salisbury Street in a south-south-westerly direction. A verandah stretches the 18 metre length of the building, sheltering a central double door. Two windows are evenly spaced on either side of the door, on the upper five windows are symmetrically aligned. The ground floor on the north, west and south walls is constructed of roughly dressed local white granite blocks, infilled with smaller pieces. The front facade is coursed in evener blocks. The upper storeys are of red brick. The outer walls and parts of the inner walls have been laid in English bond (a course of headers alternating with a course of stretchers). On the inside back wall of the first and second floors has been laid in what could be described as a crude form of Colonial bond. Colonial bond usually consists of three courses of stretchers followed by one course of headers. In this example up to five courses of stretchers have been laid between the intervening courses of headers. Colonial bond did not become popular in Sydney until the early 1880s (mill construction began in late 1860s).

At the rear of the building there is a row of windows on the first floor. On the ground floor a series of windows and doors have been made into the original structure.

In the south east corner of the eastern wall a door opens into the original engine room, which runs the 12 metre width of the building. A door level with the first opens into the larger milling area. Halfway along the wall dividing the engine and milling rooms is a wall box, originally to transfer power between the two.

Two flights of steep stairs, located towards Salisbury Street in the milling room, lead to the second and third floors. These floors are supported by a series of four brick piers dividing the front two thirds of the milling area from the rear. These piers extend up through the second and third floors to support the roof. The hipped roof was originally wooden shingles, which has subsequently been replaced with corrugated iron.

Between the ground and first floors is a trap door and a series of small chutes to allow for the movement of grain and flour between the floors.

(Information from Godwin 1982)

Chaff Shed
The Chaff Shed occupies approximately 196m2 (14m x 14m), between McCrossin's Mill 1870 and McCrossin's Stables/Store c1878. The first floor and steeply pitched roof with its tapered rafters and shingle battens are supported by twenty one huge, round poles, approximately 300mm in diameter. Roof and walls are now corrugated iron. Loading bay on the first floor.
(Mayo, 2002)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Physical condition fair.
Archaeological potential low.
(Mayo, 2002)
Modifications and dates: Flooring on ground floor demolished 1982 - 84.
Dovecot removed 1975.
Windows installed in front wall c1910 (?).
Rotted poles replaced or scarfed 1982-84.
(Mayo, 2002)
Current use: Storage, furniture exhibition area
Former use: Chaff cutting. Hardware/Plumbing store


Historical notes: The Mill was constructed between the late 1860s and early 1870s by Mr John McCrossin. Equipped with a 16 horsepower engine, the mill operated three mill stones with a production capacity of around 1000 bushels a week.

McCrossin built the mill in the expectation that the New England region would become a major exporter of flour to other parts of the Colony. Soon after the completion of the mill, however, flour prices began to fall. McCrossin could not compete with the two other mills already established in Uralla and the further four in Armidale, one in Inverell and one in Walcha. Drought and the importation of higher quality South Australian flour killed the New England wheat growing and, therefore, the milling business. South Australian flour was of a higher quality as the wheat ripened more evenly and thoroughly, allowing for the use of mechanical harvesters. Additionally, South Australian mills used steel rollers to mill the grain, producing a finer flour than the gritty product created by the mill stones employed by the New England millers. The Chaff Shed was probably constructed in response to falling trade. Unlike the Mill, it was constructed as cheaply as possible to diversify the services offered by the Mill.

The mill apparently closed in the 1890s. Early in the 19th century the buildings were bought by a skin buyer. The Mill then passed into the hands of the Cooper family, who operated a hardware and undertaking business in it. During this period part of the mill was used by Mr Crossman, who was a tank maker. Also around this time the Mill's engine was removed to the Rocky River gold fields.

About 1935 the McRae family purchased the Mill as a store for their grocery and produce business. Ken McRae buried the boiler outside the eastern wall of the mill in the early 1960s. Both the McRaes and Coopers used the well to dispose of rubbish so that it had been filled by 1960.

The Uralla Historical Society bought the Mill in 1979 and began restorations, funded by the Heritage Council of NSW. Today the Mill is operated as a museum by the Society.

(Information from Godwin 1982)

Constructed next to John McCrossin's Flour Mill in 1881 as a chaff cutting shed, with power delivered by a wooden driveshaft through an aperture in the "western" wall of the mill.
1940 - 1979 - used as storage by the McCrae's Hardware Shop, and known as the "Wireshed".
1979 - purchased by Uralla Historical Society.
1982-84 - squared and stabilised by the society.
(Mayo, 2002)

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-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The McCrossin family were pioneers of commerce in Uralla: Flour milling, retailers, hoteliers etc.
(Mayo, 2002)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The existence of such a formidable rural building in the village precinct is most unusual.
(Mayo, 2002)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The chaff shed now has a very special association with the Uralla Historical Society.
(Mayo, 2002)
SHR Criteria f)
Refer to ( C).
(Mayo, 2002)
Integrity/Intactness: Its position and basic condition (but not cosmetic condition), make it significant.
(Mayo, 2002)
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

The society has applied for funds to do a conservation plan for the whole McCrossin's precinct: mill, chaff shed, stables/store. (Mayo, 2002)

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
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.

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


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0016102 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0016108 Jan 82 30053
Local Environmental Plan 7221 Oct 88   
National Trust of Australia register  5549   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
TourismAttraction Homepage2007McCrossins Mill View detail
WrittenGodwin, Luke1982A Report to the Heritage Council of NSW on the Survey and Excavation of McCrossin's Mill, Uralla
TourismHeritage NSW2013McCrossin's Mill - Chaff Shed
TourismTourism NSW2007Mccrossins Mill Museum View detail

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

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(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045484
File number: S90/07233 & HC 30351

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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