Water Windmills, Wells, and Heritage Warrnambool Botanic Gardens

There is an old well in the Warrnambool Botanic Gardens that was sunk in 1883.  It is fifty feet deep, circular and solid with an attractive sandstone rim.  At present, it is hidden under the debris of an old shed and a tangle of Tecoma.

The Friends of Warrnambool Botanic Gardens have received initial funding to preserve the well and make it accessible to the public.  In the long term, they plan to reproduce the windmill that was removed in 1893.

In partnership with Wannon Water, the Warrnambool Botanic Gardens has developed a water-wise garden to demonstrate water saving techniques and suitable plant selection for our environment. There is scope to extend this garden to include the well and the windmill. With appropriate signs, this will be a working demonstration of the history of water supply and an explanation of the significance of an increasingly valuable resource – our water.

About the well

The Friends have employed a landscape architect with heritage qualifications to design a viewing platform for the well. The hope is that the entire project will be completed by the end of 2016 as part of our 150th celebration. The Friends obtained the original specifications for the well built in 1881, they have transcribed the original handwritten document, click here to view the transcription.

About the windmill

Any information on early wooden windmills would be much appreciated.  The mill in the gardens may well have been made in Warrnambool by John Esam.  Historian Les O’Callaghan says that John Esam’s business was on the site of what is now the Uniting Church in Koroit Street. It was powered by a mill similar to the one at Lyndoch.

In 1880 the Council put in Warrnambool’s first water supply.  They had a well 80 feet deep excavated on Cannon Hill and one of Esam’s windmills was placed over the well.  About the same time Council had similar water supplies installed in Albert Park, the Botanic Gardens and Cattle Market.


The Friends have two inferior photos of the windmill to work from. If you know of others that would be a great assistance.  The Friends of the Gardens would welcome any information on the well or the windmill.