Millbrook Farm

Author

City of Busselton

Place Number

00429

Location

70 Millbrook Rd Yallingup

Location Details

also includes Seymour Cottages

Other Name(s)

Millbrook Mill & Limekiln

Local Government

Busselton

Region

South West

Construction Date

Constructed from 1920, Constructed from 1980

Demolition Year

N/A

Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
Heritage List YES 13 Aug 2014
State Register Registered 23 Apr 1999 HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument, HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
RHP - Land Amendment - Stakeholder Consultation Current 06 Sep 2021 HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Category
Register of the National Estate Indicative Place
Register of the National Estate Permanent 18 Apr 1989
Classified by the National Trust Classified 05 Jun 1984
Statewide Lge Timber Str Survey Completed 11 Dec 1998
Municipal Inventory Adopted 20 Jun 1996 Category 1

Child Places

  • 18179 Millbrook Water Mill

Statement of Significance

Millbrook Farm, a group of living and working buildings in a picturesque setting has cultural heritage significance as an important visual landmark. Clever integration of the main Donald residences above the mill buildings have enabled them to be physically isolated but yet visually connected to their surroundings via a vista towards the paddocks to the south and forested ridges and valley to the east. Each building displays finesse in the design during the period of their construction, relating well to one another and merging harmoniously with the site. Its historic significance stems from its role as a teaching site to illustrate farm life and the timber industry during the turn of the century. It is also significant in its use of design to create a visual hierarchy to separate working – living areas in a town like setting. The sawmill still gives an example of the original timber milling methods and the novel use of gravity fed water as a source of power. Use of such cutting edge technology exemplified the innovativeness of farming families who unaccustomed to the ways of the forest had to seek alternatives to conventional farming methods. The limekiln is technologically significant in demonstrating the application of a high turnover industrial design to small-scale domestic/commercial use. Both mill and kiln demonstrate innovative adaptation of industrial technology to solve small-scale land settlement problems. The site is also historically significant due to its diversity. Early settlers combined a range of activities such as timber felling and shingle splitting on a single site. Robert Donald and Jack Donald continued to feature prominently in the local construction industry, with buildings like the Vasse Hotel, Busselton Hotel, Busselton Council Chambers and the Busselton Jetty to their names. At a micro level, the use of traditional techniques like cutting large timbers in a sawpit while preparing building material for the water wheel provides the mill increased historic significance. Use of the water wheel in a dry area has never seen similar success as in Millbrook. The water wheel is one of the few that is still connected to a drive shaft with pulleys still in situ.

Physical Description

About 10ha, 4km south-south-east of Yallingup, comprising timber, wattle and daub barn (1924); dairy (1930); Robert Donald’s House (1929); Jack Donald’s House (1927); water wheel, mill race and dam wall (1922); saw pit (c. 1922); and lime kiln (c 1920), Seymour Cottages, Millbrook Farm, Millbrook Road, Yallingup. A precinct set in a valley around a mill pond, comprising living and working buildings. A precinct set in a valley around a mill pond, comprising living and working buildings.

History

The sawmill and limekiln constituted part of an ingenious land clearance operation during which the timber from the Donald’s property was milled and local limestone burnt for lime. Both were consequently sold to finance the family during the land clearing and construction of the buildings. The two buildings were in use till 1938. In 1922, the waterwheel was built from sawn timbers with wooden buckets and large timber beams supporting the wheel. Comparisons of the wheel in 1998, with photographs taken shortly after the wheel was completed indicate that the restoration work carried out by Don House appears to have been faithful to the original appearance. In the same year, the cement and stone mill race, which is approximately 1 m deep was built. The construction of the barn soon followed in 1924. It was sited to the north of the water wheel made from timber frame and clad with weatherboards. The building was topped with a hip roof and clad with timber shingles. A stone chimney is spotted towards the western end of the barn. Below the upper level on the eastern side sits the mill machinery. During the 1920s, the saw pit and lime kiln were added. The former is essentially a long narrow hole in the ground, which has been shored up with timber planks whereas the latter is built from random rubble stone walling. In 1927, the Jack Donald House was erected using timber frame and weatherboard cladding. In recent times, the interior of the building has undergone substantial renovations. The layout of the house was mostly retained except for the addition of a new room to the back and a new bathroom and walk-in-robe to the larger eastern room. The second of the Donald’s residence, the Robert Donald House utilized similar building materials and architectural language. Drawing parallels with the first Donald’s House, the ceilings and walls were re-clad with plaster board and the cornices replaced. Another building using similar construction materials, the dairy was built in the 1930s. In 1978-79, the Donald’s House was reconstructed using timber frame and weatherboard cladding. The timber framed, weatherboard clad stables were another addition during the same period of time. The gable roof is clad with corrugated galvanised iron. The interior has a dirt floor with workbenches on the northern side. On the eastern side of the building is an enclosed yard with stalls to the south, an open central space and cement troughs on the north side. During the same period of time, the Blacksmithy was erected. It is a timber-framed building clad with weatherboards and topped with a corrugated iron gable roof. Its design mimics a blacksmithy also done by the Donalds in the past. On the northern end, there is a lean-to open section. However, access is only via double doors to the west. An earth dam wall was also built around the same period of time. A distinctly different group of buildings were the Seymour buildings. They have been relocated but the original materials were retained in their reconstruction. Only the old timber shingles for the roof was replaced but they were produced in-house. All three buildings are of wattle and daub walls clad with weatherboards except for Building C, which has no cladding. The roofing material is a combination of shingles and corrugated iron. New subdivision has been carried out over the periods of 2004 to 2005 and the buildings have been re-located on site.

Archaeology

The site contains potential archaeological findings that provide an understanding of the life of the Donald’s family. This will provide invaluable insight as to how early settlers adapted to their environment.

Integrity/Authenticity

Integrity Notes: Of the buildings constructed by the Donalds, the water wheel, millrace, dam wall, lime kiln and two residences are considered to have retained a high degree of integrity, while the barn and the dairy have retained only a moderate degree of integrity. All of the recent structures (the stables, blacksmithy, reconstructed Donald house, toilets, bandstand, workshop and gift shop) have a high degree of integrity. Authenticity Notes: Although the water wheel has had some of its timber components replaced, it is considered to have retained a moderate to high degree of authenticity as these replacements are considered to fall into the category of ongoing maintenance. The barn and the kiln have also retained a high degree of authenticity. Only the exterior of the Jack Donald's house has retained a high degree of authenticity, while the interior is considered to be low. Robert Donald's house is considered to have low authenticity. All of the recent structures (the stables, blacksmithy, reconstructed Donald house, toilets, bandstand, workshop and gift shop) have a high degree of authenticity.

Condition

The water wheel and lime kiln are in poor condition. The barn, millrace, saw pit, dairy, gift shop and workshop are considered to be in a fair condition. The dam wall, stables, blacksmithy, reconstructed Donald house, toilets, bandstand, Jack Donald House and Robert Donald House are all considered to be in good condition. All of the Seymour buildings are in poor condition.

References

Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Heritage Council ;"Assessment Documantation" 1999

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
5568 Millbrook Farm, Yallingup, Western Australia : conservation plan. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 2002
7017 Millbrook Farm, Yallingup, Western Australia : conservation of barn and water wheel (final report). Conservation works report 2004
7474 Preliminary report on sub-floor restoration at Millbrook farm, Wildwood Road, Yallingup. Heritage Study {Other} 2002

Place Type

Individual Building or Group

Uses

Epoch General Specific
Original Use FARMING\PASTORAL Shed or Barn
Original Use FARMING\PASTORAL Homestead
Original Use RESIDENTIAL Single storey residence
Original Use INDUSTRIAL\MANUFACTURING Dairy, Butter or Cheese Factory
Original Use FORESTRY Timber Mill
Present Use EDUCATIONAL Museum

Architectural Styles

Style
Vernacular

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall TIMBER Weatherboard
Roof TIMBER Shingle
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron

Historic Themes

General Specific
OUTSIDE INFLUENCES Tourism
OCCUPATIONS Timber industry

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):

Approved

Last Update

31 Dec 2016

Disclaimer

This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.