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Mother’s Day at The Mill

A record number of visitors experienced the Annual Open Day at Day’s Mill and Farm South Murchison on Mother’s Day this year. The weather was just perfect and this added to the enjoyment for all who came.

Parks Victoria staff, who are responsible for the property, did a sterling job in preparing everything beforehand and offering guided tours on the day. There was lots of signage provided and information about the flour mill, farm out- buildings, family home and gate-house cottage.

Mother's Day at the Mill

The compact two storey family home with attractive wrought iron lace trim, was furnished with items to showcase how the rooms were used during the time the Day family lived there. Traditional games of quoits and croquet were set up for the visiting children.

Stalls provided handcrafts, woodwork products, and old-world tools and period household fittings that a blacksmith might have fashioned back in the day.

Coffee cart and food stalls provided welcome food and beverages. Murchison & District Historical Society had a stall displaying the history of agriculture in the area and in particular, the Day’s Mill story.

Lots of descendants of the Day family dropped by and were pleased to be able to obtain copies of ‘In Search of our Days’, by Gillian Day, the extensive record of many generations of the Day family as well as other local history books, souvenirs and information.

Day’s Mill and Farm is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register as it is considered the best example of an intact 19th century milling and farm complex, with equipment still in place such as the large mill stones for grinding the grain to make flour.

The old Day’s Flour Mill and House at Murchison.

William and Ann Day came to Australia from England and by 1853 had secured employment at Noorilim Station. Here they established vegetable gardens beside the Goulburn River as well as setting up a cartage business servicing the many new settlers and gold prospectors arriving in the area.

From December 1856 William was able to purchase farm allotments at South Murchison on the western side of the Goulburn River from Noorilim Station and this is where the family established the three storey Mill and family home we see today.

Tragedy struck in 1872 when William died as a result of a farming accident and Ann was left a widow with seven children aged five to nineteen years of age.

Ann capably continued to manage the Mill, a mixed farming business and even a shop providing household and farming supplies operating from the house. This was in an environment largely dominated by men and at a time when women, let alone a woman with a young family, did not take on the role of running a business.

Murchison Historical Society stall and member Jackie in her period costume.

Nevertheless her business acumen is evident in her preserved diaries, farm ledgers and correspondence.

The property is situated in a lovely location and presents a picturesque rural scene which is very imposing as you walk up the driveway towards the mill and house. It is like stepping back in time when visiting Day’s Mill and Farm as so much is still as it was over 150 years ago. If you missed the Open Day this year, make sure you come next year when it will be open to the public again on Mother’s Day.

Kay Ball, President, Murchison & District Historical Society Inc.