The Tower Mill on Wickham Terrace is one of the oldest convict-built structures in Queensland. It was constructed in 1828 for the purpose of grinding wheat and corn using windpower and an associated convict-operated treadmill. The mill ceased grinding grain in 1845 and the treadmill was removed sometime before 1849. In 1855, the colonial government established a signal station in the old mill tower to communicate shipping movements and time signals between the entrance of the Brisbane River and the central business district of the township. Renovations were undertaken in 1861 including the installation of the time ball mast visible on top of the tower in this image. The timeball was dropped from the head of the mast at precisely 1 p.m. each afternoon, enabling the regulation of clocks and ships' chronometers. In 1881, the government established a small astronomical and meteorological observatory on the adjacent reserve, relocating instruments previously used in a private observatory of the amateur astronomer Captain John Reilly (1824-1877), The signal station and timeball service was discontinued in 1921, and the following year the site passed into the trusteeship of the Brisbane City Council. Early radio, telephony and television communication research was undertaken within the tower during the 1920s, by members of the Institute of Radio Engineers.

The Tower Mill was heritage listed in 1992 and today form the centrepiece of Observatory Park, Brisbane, Queensland.

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Tower Mill, Observatory & Timeball, Wickham Terrace, Brisbane. Also known as the 'Old Brisbane Observatory' and 'Old Windmill'.

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