There’s more to Millbrook than meets the eye. Established back in the 1920s by the Donald family, Millbrook Yallingup’s beautiful Old Mill heritage site is a historical landmark with a fascinating backstory.
The Donald family built what is now known as the Old Mill heritage site back in the early 1920s. The Old Mill features a timber mill with adjoining creek designed to operate a waterwheel. At the time, the mill drove a circular saw and other implements to mill timber, which was cut on the property and dragged back to the mill by horse and chain.
The timber was predominately used for construction work by father-and-son master builders Robert and Jack Donald. In 1922, the mill’s waterwheel was built, with the construction of the site’s two-storey barn to follow in 1924. Towards the end of the 1920s, the Donalds had built timber-framed houses for both Jack’s family, as well as Robert and his wife Sarah.
The Donalds were renowned for the construction of various hotels in Busselton and the South West, along with some of the railway stations in the region. Robert built the original Caves House Hotel Yallingup in 1903, which was sadly destroyed by fire in 1936. Robert and Jack then rebuilt the iconic South West building in 1938, using timber cut at the Millbrook mill.
The Old Mill heritage site was open to the public for a period of 10 years – from the late 1970s to the late 1980s. Run by blacksmith Malcolm Paine and his wife Audrey, the precinct allowed tourists to explore the timber mill and surrounding buildings, as well as watch Malcolm perform blacksmith demonstrations in an era replica of a village smithy.
Millbrook’s Seymour Cottages have a history all their own; built in the 1850s at Dunn Bay Road in Dunsborough, back when Castle Rock was used as a whaling station. The cottages were saved from demolition by Malcolm in 1981, who dismantled and rebuilt them at Millbrook, where they remain today.
2018 and beyond
Millbrook Yallingup is now an exclusive weddings, functions and events venue that mixes the best of new and old. Most of the buildings and structures that were built and renovated by the Donalds, Paines and Merifields can still be found at the Old Mill heritage site, with some even available for event hire.