The Mill & Rail Museum was started when the Mill expanded acquiring the Historical Station Masters House. This was a dream come true for Neville Yeatman the former Mill Manager having just retired after 40years at Manildra Flour Mills. He undertook the huge task of researching and finding memorabilia and old machinery for the museum. Locals were asked to look in their photo’s and keep sakes to find any pieces of Mill or Rail history they could copy or give to the museum, this proved very successful.
The Station Masters house, built in circa 1893, is very interesting in itself with the wide skirting boards, picture rails.
The floor coverings were lifted revealing old timber floors, which were then stripped and polished to bring out the timber texture. The inside was painted in traditional colours close to the original paint colour as possible.
Memorabilia collected is displayed on the mantle piece in each room and photos are carefully placed under glass topped tables. Information gathered, dates back to when the Mill was first established in Manildra in 1907. It was transported from Cargo by bullock drays to the existing site where it stands today, as the focal point in Manildra.
Many of the photos displayed are of workers who commenced work as young lads, some include first, second and third generation family members. A photo of John Thomas Honan or “Jack” as he was known locally, the founder and owner of the Mill, has pride of place in one of the main rooms.
Memorabilia of the Railway Station and Past Station Masters are on display along with items found on the tracks over the years.
Newspaper clippings have been carefully displayed under the glass tables.
In 2006 Mr.Yeatman found an old roller from the original mill and had the Mill workshop men restore it to its former glory. A cover was made so it could be displayed outside, out of the weather, but in full view to the public.
In 2007 Mr. Yeatman came across an old capstan winch used to pull the heavy wheat rail carriages down the line to load. This has also been restored and is now on display.
A video compiled by Mr. Yeatman traces the steps of Harvesting, Milling the Flour to packaging the flour. This is on a loop and runs continuously for visitors to view. A song “I’m Going Back to Old Manildra”written by the Headmistress (Jocelyn Farr) of St Joseph Catholic School Manildra and sung by the schools children provides the background music for the video. A brief look at the Historic Mill House is also on the video.
The beauty of having someone like Mr. Yeatman being on hand when visitors go through the museum is he is able to answer any questions about the Mill with an abundance of knowledge.
Tourist buses travelling through have visited the museum finding it very interesting. Vintage car club members are regular visitors to tour town and the museum. The museum is open on special weekends or when booked through Neville Yeatman on 63645107 or Sue Reynolds on 63645161 or 63645003 any time. There is no charge to take this walk back in time and it is run solely by Mr.Yeatman and his volunteers.
The museum receives no funding only the assistance at times of the Mill workshop men to help in some restoration projects.