Captain John Hart revolutionised the industry in 1855 when he built the largest mill in the colony. Most mills had a single grindstone turned by a horse, a water wheel, wind power or perhaps a steam engine. Hart’s Mill was a monster, with giant steel rollers and ten pairs of grinding stones driven by two 30-horse-power engines.
Business flourished and Hart’s fine export flour dusted the farthest reaches of the British Empire. In 1883, the company merged and formed the Adelaide Milling Company. The second, multi-storey mill was completed in 1888. Fire gutted its interior in 1905, but the mill was reconstructed and operated until 1980. Its machinery was deafening.
Hundreds of metals scoops attached to belts hauled the grain between levels. Break rollers cracked the wheat to separate the bran. The grain was then siphoned off into a series of vibrating sieves, purifiers and reduction rollers to collect the flour.
Abandoned in 1980, the mill has been at the centre of tussles between developers and community. The flour shed is now a hub for community events but the future of the mill is still in contention.
"My passion for Hart's Mill’s heritage and my advocacy for its protection as part of a community alliance has ironically led to me being one of the first people allowed into the mills in more than 30 years, taking a group of government officials for an eye opening tour of the Mills’ interiors in 2012. This led to being given permission to photographically document the interiors so that others could see and imagine the possibilities, a small sample of those images are on these walls." Tony Kearney