In an earlier post I told the story of Henry Curran’s storekeeping business during the goldrush of the 1860s. Henry was also responsible for the first flour mill within the town Orange, New South Wales. His mill opened in 1855.
On the original town map of Orange, Henry is shown as the purchaser of 12 town blocks, mostly in 1852. These included 4 of the 5 blocks on the northern side of Summer Street, between Curran Street and Peisley Streets. The fifth block was purchased by John Peisley. (Due to subsequent land use changes which rendered Curran Street discontinuous, the southern end is now known as McNamara Street.)
Henry’s store and flour mill were both located on this stretch of Summer Street. The store was at the western end of the block, now 283 Summer St and occupied by the Parkview Hotel. The mill was built on Peisley’s block, now 311-313 Summer St and occupied by the Salvation Army store. The latter premises were formerly the Strand Theatre.
The mill had a gala opening on 2 May 1855, as the Sydney Morning Herald of 16 May reported:
“Steam Flour Mill – Mr. H. Curran’s flour mill in the township of Orange was started for the first time on Wednesday the 2nd instant. There were a great number of the inhabitants of the district present to witness the usual formalities of such occasions. Amongst the lookers on I observed several several of our J.P.’s, Mr Templar, the proprietor of the Narrambla Steam Mills being one of them. The engine appeared to do her work in fine style, and there was no want of steam as the champagne bottles were going pop, pop, like lightning. Everything was conducted in a very orderly manner. I think Mr. Curran is entitled to no small amount of praise for the very spirited manner in which he has persevered in this great undertaking, but I am of the opinion that he is a little too soon with it. We have now no less than four steam mills in this district, two of which are twelve horsepower, and there certainly cannot be full work for the whole of them…”
This advertisement for the mill appeared in the Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal of 12 May 1855:
By December of 1855, Henry had leased the mill to Edward Nicholls (Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal, 22 December 1855).
Henry still owned the mill at his death in 1866 and in 1869 it was advertised for “sale or let” by his widow, Helena:
By 1872 the mill was being referred to as Bowen’s mill. This article from 1872 records the presence of 3 mills in Orange at that time:
“Dalton’s Steam Flour Mill has been separately described. The Steam Flour Mill of Nelson’s, though smaller, is something similar, and a description of one nearly answers for the other. Both mills, when I was in Orange were working almost night and day. To the eastward of the town stands Bowen’s Steam Flour Mill…” (Evening News 18 April 1872)