Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Mill at Mechanic's Bay

This comes from LINZ, reference SO 936 (Crown copyright). Not sure what the date is -- it includes the Auckland-to-Onehunga rail line, so that addition would be from the 1870s, but has the Domain Washing Ground which was only around from 1850-1855 at most. (More on that later once I get the Domain Stories 1850s done).

So, this may be showing the Mechanic's Bay Flour Mill post Low & Motion, but during the Ashby period (when Hugh Coolahan leased it from the Provincial Council, see the Mechanic's Bay timeline.) The map shows the entire mill race, from a mill pond up above the washing grounds, sweeping around the northern edge of the Domain to another alarger mill pond over by the railway line, then across to the mill (above), through Robertson's rope walk, and out under the Strand-Parnell Rose to the sea.

There is a lovely painting from c.1845 of Mechanic's Bay I have found, but can't reproduce here (at the moment) as the original is held by the Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. It shows Robertson's rope works, and the mill alongside, almost as the plan above shows. This will do for now, though.

Further note: Thanks to Phil for his comment: here's my best guess, based on the map, as to where the mill house was (red circle -- click on the image to enlarge) :


  1. I'm finding the stuff on the Domain and Mechanic's Bay quite fascinating. With regard to the Mill House, I've been trying to figure out exactly where it would be on today's landscape but I'm stumped. Can you help this geographically challenged browser?

  2. Hi Phil,

    Thanks for the comment! Ive added an ARC website aerial with a red circle marking roughly where I think the mill site was. Looking forward to (hopefully) seeing what the archaeologists turned up to check it out.

  3. this is really interesting william motion is a great great relative of mine

  4. Cheers -- always delighted to hear from relatives of the personalities I write about.

  5. Hello, do you have a picture of the painting from 1845?