Mostert’s Mill

+27 (0)82 771 6480
Rhodes Ave, Mowbray, Cape Town

2021 Restoration Update 5

– Good progress to report

Heritage Western Cape (HWC), whose permission is required for us to carry out the Mostert’s Mill restoration, have told us that we may proceed with construction of the wooden machinery internals of the Mill.  Where the masonry structure is concerned, reports of a structural engineer and a heritage architect have been completed and sent to both HWC and the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPW) in Pretoria, and we expect these reports to be approved by both regulators within the next weeks.
Apart from your generous donations both locally and overseas, we now have pledges from a number of heritage funds that give us a grand total of over two million Rand to work with!  This will enable us to make a huge amount of progress, especially on the wooden internals, while waiting for the final approval of the structural work.  Below is our news of those wooden internals.

The Windshaft

 Here is a picture of the windshaft, with the sails at the right-hand end and the brake wheel in the middle.  As the brake wheel turns, a ring of cogs mesh with the lantern pinion and turn the vertical shaft.  This vertical shaft runs down the centre of the Mill and turns the upper of two millstones on the first floor.

The windshaft is bigger than it looks.  It has a square cross-section of 0,4 metres on each side, and is over 6 metres long.  It needs to be cut from a whole tree (or laminated, but that would not be authentic).  We have felled two trees. Both were cracked internally but one could be used for the curb rings (see below).
Our Technical Manager Andy Selfe has found a third tree that had already fallen, half into a river.  Here he is in the photo cutting off the top end prior to hauling the main log out of the water.
The river was too high on that occasion, and we are waiting for the water level to drop a bit before completing that cut.


The Vertical Shaft

Andy has fabricated most of this already, using the tail pole (which wasn’t too badly burnt) from the Mill.  A wrought iron device called the Quant (salvaged after the fire) must be inserted at the foot of the vertical shaft, to transfer the turning force to the upper millstone.  Below is a photo of the shaft with a slot for the Quant.  The filler piece of wood goes into the slot too, bolts are added through the holes, and the assembly is also clamped externally.

The Curb Rings

In the photo above, planks from the Grey Ironbark tree donated by the Barlow family at Rustenburg are ready for cutting into arcs that after joining together will form the two curb rings at the top of the Mill.  These curb rings (one fixed, the other rotating inside the fixed one) support the thatched cap of the Mill, with the windshaft and its supporting matrix all rotating with the cap.  A wrought iron arc is also visible – it is one segment of a circular hoop clamping the outside of the fixed curb ring. At the same time, work has started on the matrix at another location, more on this in the next update!

Windshaft Bearings

These have been made by the well-known Stone Masons JA Clift of Suider Paarl, according to our drawings and the cast iron end-cap from the rear of the windshaft which was saved from the ashes. Here cousins Jimmy and William Clift pose with the completed bearings made from granite from their quarry and donated to us to help the job along. Many thanks to the management of this iconic firm!

Stone-ground wholemeal
If you are missing your sourdough loaves made with stone-ground wholemeal and spring water, contact our generous supporter Adri Schutz of Mount Elsewhere Bakery at 082 784 2661.  She offers free delivery to to the Southern Suburbs, Atlantic Seaboard, Deep South, City Bowl and Hout Bay.

Yours sincerely – the Mostert’s Mill Restoration Team