An imposing four-storey granite and timber mill is about to begin a new chapter of its extraordinary life.
A favourite of authors launching books, of jamming jazz musicians and of producers making films, the mill’s lower levels today are a gallery of fine art and other collections. The old mill is the jewel in a collection of beautifully restored 19th-century buildings at Mill Pond Farm, 10 minutes drive from Braidwood.
Now this landmark property is on the market.
Specialist collector and valuer Antony Davies, a passionate restorer of everything from old buildings, horse-drawn buggies and vintage cars, has spent 11 years restoring the mill and the equally impressive homestead on Mill Pond Farm. Stables and other buildings full of antique cars and tractors are surrounded by a wetland, alpacas, horses, goats and sheep.
Listing agent, Kelly Allen of Luton Properties, Braidwood, says interest has so far ranged from the low to mid-$3 million level.
The old mill is the jewel in a collection of beautifully restored 19th-century buildings at Mill Pond Farm. Mr Davies is an enthusiastic researcher. His findings complement his restoration work and valuations services. Full of gold mining, bushrangers and agricultural wealth, the Braidwood district has left him plenty to delve into, including the life of Charles Dransfield, who built the mill. Dransfield had married into the Roberts family at Exeter Farm on which sat the earliest dairy and dairyman’s residence in the district. Dransfield and his new wife built a charming Victorian Gothic extension to the dairy.
In 1859 Dransfield built the mill using bricks manufactured on the property and stone cut from farm-sourced granite. Inside are massive beams cut from the nearby Budawang Ranges. Bumper wheat crops were produced between the 1840s and 1885, and the flour mill also housed a sawmill, quartz crushing battery and bakery. In the late 19th century the property produced record quantities of fine merino wool.
The mill opened in January 1860 as The Jembaicumbene Steam Flour Mills. The discovery of gold in 1851 unleashed a flood of prospectors. Lucrative alluvial finds on Dransfield’s land made him and his neighbours wealthy through issuing mining leases near the Jembaicumbene Creek.
By 1885 the worsening drought and a looming financial depression forced the closure of all the milling businesses for good. These days the mill’s exterior features mellowed brick walls, rustic granite details and soaring rooflines.
Stonework, hardwood timber floors and a blend of classic and modern fittings feature throughout the five-bedroom, three-bathroom homestead. Five reception rooms include the entrance hall, library, drawing room, two studies, summer room and formal dining room. Under cathedral ceilings a large country kitchen offers a gas range and an Aga stove, walk-in pantry and silver closet. From here you can look outside onto a lovely kitchen garden and a fountain in the formal courtyard.
The large main bedroom has a fireplace and a sunny bay window. From there you can walk through wardrobes to a luxurious modern en suite, with cast iron bath, separate shower and European fittings. Two other large bedrooms open onto the verandahs and share a bathroom. The third large bedroom has its own en suite with claw foot bath. Another bedroom option is in the attic which has a balcony overlooking the Budawang Ranges.
Seven fireplaces can be found throughout the homestead, which is also centrally heated with a wood-fired hydronic system. Shady verandahs encircle the house.
The farm includes a magnificent 25-acre wetland comprising large ponds in the course of the Jembaicumbene Creek which are home to platypus, black swans, purple swamp hens, coots, ducks and other waterbirds.
For a private inspection, or to learn more about 1/660 Majors Creek Road, contact Kelly Allen from Luton Braidwood on 0466 632 696.