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The Old Windmill Observatory: The Tower Mill Spring Hill, QLD, Australia

The Old Windmill Observatory is a small non-profit observatory in Spring Hill, Queensland. At 29 square metres, it’s the smallest of Australia’s public observatories. But the 300-year-old tower mill it occupies has a lengthy history of astronomical use and remains in operation as an observatory today. The tower mill is one of only a few remaining masonry tower windmills in Australia, and the most intact example still standing. The observatory occupies part of the original mill building which dates back to 1876. The mill was restored piece by piece between 2004 and 2007 and opened to the public in April 2013 as part of the Gold Coast Astronomy Festival. Since then astronomers from all over Australia, New Zealand, Asia, North America and Europe have visited to admire the telescope or learn about astronomy through hands-on activities at NightSky visitor centre inside the mill building and outside on its grounds. Up next is Rocks Riverside Park.

The tower mill at the Old Windmill Observatory was built in the mid-1840s and was used to grind grain and produce flour. The original mill building, which dates back to 1876, was refurbished and expanded to accommodate the observatory’s telescopes in the late 2000s. In 2015 the observatory was transferred to a new lease and currently hosts a growing collection of telescopes, astronomical instruments and a variety of public events. The observatory is on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. The mill is situated on the farm of the Brinkworth family, who have owned the property since 1867. Over the years, the mill has been used for a number of purposes, including producing flour, crushing sugar cane, crushing bricks, crushing glass, crushing stone, producing paper and even producing ice. All of these activities have put a toll on the original building, and in the late 2000s the Brinkworth family and the Old Windmill Observatory raised funds to have it restored as a public observatory. Today the restored tower mill houses a popular public observatory and functions as a visitor centre. A great read.

The observatory is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm from February to August, and on Sundays from 11 am to 4 pm. The entrance fee is A$5 (AU$5.00) per person, or A$10 (AU$10.00) for a family (kids under 12 are free). Admission is free on public holidays. The Old Windmill Observatory is located in the Brinkworth Valley, 2.5 kilometres north-west of the Gold Coast CBD. The best way to get to the observatory is to take public transport. You can get to the observatory via taxis or hire cars.

The observatory’s telescopes feature a variety of sizes and types, from powerful large refractors to small reflectors. The observatory’s main telescope is a large 30-inch refractor which is used for visual observing and images. A smaller 12-inch refractor telescope is used for imaging only. There is also a 10-inch reflector telescope used for images and a 24-inch Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope used exclusively for solar observing. In addition to these telescopes, the observatory has a number of smaller portable telescopes available for guests to use. There is a Celestron Nexstar 102a CCD telescope with an 8-inch aperture that can be used for visual observing or images, and a Celestron Nexstar 5s CCD telescope with an aperture of 5 inches that can be used for visual observing only.

Embedded Driving Directions From This POI To The Next POI

Written Driving Directions From This POI To The Next POI

Start: Old Windmill Observatory: The Tower Mill

Spring Hill QLD 4000, Australia

Take Wickham Terrace and Gregory Terrace/State Route 10 to M3 in Herston

5 min (2.9 km)

Head northwest on Wickham Terrace toward Birley St

270 m

Turn right to stay on Wickham Terrace

200 m

Turn left to stay on Wickham Terrace

350 m

Turn right onto Gregory Terrace/State Route 10

1.4 km

Turn left onto Bowen Bridge Rd/State Route 15

140 m

Turn left

500 m

Follow M5 to Goggs Rd. Take the exit toward Seventeen Mile Rocks Rd/Jindalee/Oxley from M5

11 min (13.5 km)

Merge onto M3

600 m

Keep right at the fork to continue on M5, follow signs for Western Suburbs/Legacy Way Tunnel/Ipswich

 Toll road

12.6 km

Take the exit toward Seventeen Mile Rocks Rd/Jindalee/Oxley

290 m

Take Seventeen Mile Rocks Rd to Counihan Rd in Seventeen Mile Rocks

2 min (1.4 km)

Continue onto Goggs Rd

52 m

Goggs Rd turns slightly right and becomes Centenary Hwy

39 m

At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Seventeen Mile Rocks Rd

1.0 km

Turn left onto Counihan Rd

260 m

End: Rocks Riverside Park

531 Seventeen Mile Rocks Rd, Seventeen Mile Rocks QLD 4073, Australia

Embedded Driving Directions From BG ELECTRICAL & AIR CON  To This POI

Written Driving Directions From BG ELECTRICAL & AIR CON  To This POI

Start: BG ELECTRICAL & AIR CON

17/500 Seventeen Mile Rocks Rd, Seventeen Mile Rocks QLD 4073, Australia

Take Seventeen Mile Rocks Rd to M5 in Jindalee

3 min (2.0 km)

Head north

29 m

At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Seventeen Mile Rocks Rd

 Go through 1 roundabout

1.5 km

Continue onto Sinnamon Rd

130 m

Keep right

350 m

Continue on M5. Take Milton Rd/State Route 32 to Wickham Terrace in Brisbane City

15 min (12.2 km)

Merge onto M5

6.4 km

Use the left 2 lanes to take the Mount Coot Tha Rd exit

1.0 km

At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Mount Coot-Tha Rd/Metroad 5

450 m

At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Milton Rd/State Route 32

3.2 km

Use any lane to turn left onto Petrie Terrace/State Route 10

350 m

Continue straight to stay on Petrie Terrace/State Route 10

400 m

Turn right onto College Rd/State Route 10

450 m

Drive to Wickham Terrace in Spring Hill

2 min (850 m)

Continue onto Wickham Terrace

300 m

Turn right to stay on Wickham Terrace

210 m

Turn left to stay on Wickham Terrace

 Destination will be on the left

300 m

End: Old Windmill Observatory: The Tower Mill

Spring Hill QLD 4000, Australia

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