OUR HERITAGE MILLSTONE SHAME
IT SITS on Wickham Tce at Spring Hill in Brisbane like a lonely exclamation mark to our savage past. The Old Windmill Tower was constructed in 1825 as a punishment treadmill for convicts, who were also required to grind corn and wheat for the young colony. It was exhausting and dangerous work that claimed the life of Michael Collins in 1829 when he slipped beneath the sandstone grinders.
Old drawings of the mill show it had two wind-powered sails.
Later, in 1841, two Aboriginal men identified only as Mullan and Ningavil were hanged at the windmill for the murder of surveyor Granville Stapylton and his assistant William Tuck near Mt Lindesay, 140km south of Brisbane.
Queenslanders get a rare chance to see inside it this weekend and to climb to the top, just as Darren Lockyer (pictured) and I did this week. Lockyer, former league Test captain, State of Origin and Broncos star warrior, is a Brisbane Open House ambassador.
To look to the future, it sometimes pays to look to the past, Lockyer says as he steps effortlessly up the narrow winding stairs to the top. He wonders whether heritage groups may one day restore the missing sails.
Lockyer says more than 90 private and public buildings will open their doors today and tomorrow for Open House. Groovy architects‘ offices, oodles of churches and modern buildings such as 480 Queen Street and Skytower in Margaret St will open their doors. Admission is free.