COOPERS MILL

 

HEMA map reference 74/E2

 

Mandurah - Western Australia

 

GPS 32 34 35.29 S 115 45 54.13 E

 

 

 

 

Toilets available Tables and / or seats and / or shelters provided Fire places or BBQs available

 

 

 

 

Cooper's Mill is only accessible by boat and is located on the far western end of Cooleenup Island at the mouth of the Murray River in W.A.

 

The mill was built by Joseph Cooper who with his wife Elizabeth and 4 children, arrived in W.A in 1830.

 

Joseph worked as a blacksmith, wheelwright, farmer and inn keeper before deciding to build the mill in 1846. Sadly he died aged just 51 when, on a trip to Fremantle, he fell from a wagon and was crushed by a wheel.

 

The mill was not complete when Joseph died and the final work was done by Josiah Stinton and Cooper's sons.

 

Originally the mill was powered by sails but they were destroyed by a bushfire in 1850 and the mill was converted to steam power.

 

Floods in 1862 saw the beginning of the end for the mill. There was not enough local wheat to keep the mill going and in 1865 the mill and other buildings were abandoned.

 

During the next few years fires were lit inside the mill and the stairs were destroyed. Bricks were removed for use on other buildings and the engine room simply vanished.

 

Around 1900 the tower was used as a smokehouse by the Smart family and from 1909-1914 a Fisheries officer was stationed there to help stop illegal fishing.

 

After WW1 a Russian recluse known as 'Old Martin' lived at the mill for a time and in 1930 some restoration work was done by the great great grandson of Joseph Cooper, Reg Cooper.

 

Old Mill - similar design

 

A bushfire destroyed much of the restoration work and it was not until 1951 that the next work was done on the building. The building then sat idle until 1984 when the brick engine room was reconstructed and repairs made to the main building.

 

2001 saw more work done with the roof being replaced and a more historically accurate appearance completed.

 

The location of the mill seems rather odd today but in earlier times it was easier to transport grain by boat and for a while the mill was a hub of activity.

 

The island is an ideal picnic spot if you have a boat and there are tables, seats and shelters as well as BBQs and fresh water available.

 

 

 

Best time to visit:

Jan

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