Shenton’s Mill (commonly known as the Old Mill) and cottage were built in 1835, replacing the 1833 timber-framed mill. Shenton’s Mill ceased operation in 1859 due to the introduction of larger capacity steam mills to the Colony. After a brief period as a ‘Pleasure Garden’, during which time the sails were removed and verandahs and accommodation were added to the old tower, the Mill fell into decay. It was rescued from demolition by Sir Lance Brisbane, who funded the preservation of the tower and cottage, transforming them into a folk museum. The site was classified by the National Trust in 1973 and since 1994 has been managed and maintained by the City of South Perth.
The Old Mill is open to visitors Tuesday – Friday 10am – 4pm, Saturday and Sunday 1 pm – 4pm. Donations are greatfully accepted.
School and group visits are encouraged so give the Old Mill staff a call on 08 9367 5788 to let them know when you plan to visit.
The Mill is accessible via public transport- search the Transperth website for timetables.
Or if travelling by car on the Kwinana Freeway, take the Mill Point Road exit. The location of the Mill can be seen in the map below.
Mary and John Manning (Senior) arrived in Western Australiain 1852. They owned a considerable amount of property along Mounts Bay Road and established a dairy on the Perth side of Jacob’s Ladder.
With the fencing in of Kings Park and subsequent loss of grazing land, John Manning (Junior) moved some of the Mounts Bay herd to South Perth and began a dairy business c. 1877. Due to damage to the Causeway, John was required to cross the cattle at Heirrison Island where the water was shallow and there was a bank of oyster shell on the river bed extending over to the South Perth foreshore.
John purchased 100 acres of property known as Location 38b on the South Perth foreshore for ten shillings an acre which came to be known as Southbourne. The Southbourne house was located on the corner of Hurlingham Street and Manning Terrace, and John cleared and cultivated the river front ground between Southbourne and Ellam Street, being ideal land for growing crops, pasture and vegetables.
The Manning and neighbouring Douglas dairy helped to supply Perthwith fresh milk.
John was interested in local affairs and was a member of the first South Perth Road Board formed 9 June 1892 and would continue to be Chairman of the Board in 1894, 1896-1897, 1899-1901 and the first Chairman of the South Perth Health Board formed 10 June 1897.
Before construction of the Coode Street Jetty in 1896, the Coode Street foreshore was used as a landing point for local South Perth residents. In particular, visiting pastors and teachers to the Wesley Chapel and Church (which was built on Coode Street) would land here and walk to their destination.
The first ferry service to operate from Coode Street was managed by W. F. Tubbs however it was very irregular. This service was replaced in 1898 by local residents Rowland Pennington and Fred Bailey, who formed a public company,the River Ferry Company, in hopes to bring some regularity to the service. The company had two sailing boats in action, the Mary Queen and the Gladys, however the venture was a failure.
In 1904, Jack Olsen and Claes (Harry) Sutton developed a thriving ferry business on the Swan River, including regular ferries to Coode Street. The Olsen and Sutton fleet were known as ‘Val’ boats (named after their Scandinavian links) and included Valfreda, Valthera, Valdemar and Valkyrie I & II. The Sutton and Olsen families continued to run the service until 1935 when they sold the business to Nat Lappin, who formed the Swan River Ferries Company.
The private ferry service was eventually merged into the State Transport system and the jetty was rebuilt in 1990.