21 March, 2013

Wind and water

A few weeks back I wrote a post about the number of windmills I noticed as I paddled some of the more rural sections of the Barwon, titled Tilting at windmills. Not long after, I received a detailed comment from "Hugh" whose family owned the land on which one of the windmills I had photographed stood. He informed me that in addition to the remains of this windmill near Ceres, a larger windmill had stood on the opposite bank of the river on land owned by the McCann family, but that it had been removed to make way for the Geelong Ring Road near where the Geoff Thom Bridge (the subject of a post from October, 2011) crosses the Barwon.

The Geoff Thom Bridge over the Barwon
He also provided details of some other significant windmills associated with the Barwon and Geelong's past. A pair were located, at Sparrovale Farm, their purpose being to drain the surrounding  land, and an earlier one was built at Chilwell and was used to operate the Riversdale Flour mill. Some discussion of the latter mill can be seen in the comments following my post "Grist to the mill".
The good news according to Hugh however, is that the McCann's windmill has been completely restored and is now located at the Geelong Showgrounds. As I live not too far away and often pass the showgrounds, I had indeed noticed the windmill and wondered about it. It was a simple matter therefore to snap a few photos of this large, fully-restored and rather impressive Southern Cross windmill, located just inside the gate on Breakwater Road.
Restored Southern Cross windmill at Geelong Showground
 It was a clear, hot day while I was there with only a light breeze blowing, however it was still enough to have the sails turning and the shaft rising and falling.
Southern Cross windmill, Geelong Showground
This windmill is noted on the Windmill Journal of Australia and New Zealand website, however the details do not appear as far as I can tell, to be accurate. I did search for further details concerning the restoration and installation of the windmill at its current site, however I couldn't see anything online.

Windmill at the showground
I did however make one other "discovery". I had forgotten that Geelong boasts two "Bills Troughs". The first, located in Fitzroy Street, Geelong was the subject of an earlier post "Horses for courses" and the second - as can be seen in one of the above photos - is located within the Geelong Showgrounds.

Bills Trough at Geelong Showground
More details can be found about these troughs in the earlier post, but in brief, they were installed during the 1930s across Australia and some other countries for the benefit of working horses. The funds were provided from a trust established out of the proceeds of the will of George Bills and his wife Annis. About 700 troughs were produced and all but about 50 of them were located in Australia.
 The troughs have a distinctive shape and style. The photo below shows a plaque acknowledging the benefactors on the trough at the showground.
Plaque on the trough

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