Black Powder Mill Z9 (Now Building No 745), Parklea Avenue, Cairnlea
(Former Albion Explosive Factory Site)
The Black Powder Mill is the last remaining building from the former Albion Explosive Factory. It was used to grind gunpowder for bombs and shells during WW2.
The building consists of two levels, the ground level which contained the milling equipment and a basement level containing the motors & mechanical gear that drove the milling machine.
Reinforced concrete side and rear walls were constructed to protect the working and occupied parts of the site from any explosion. They also help to direct the blast out through the front wooden doors.
Sacrificial wooden blast doors were provided on the creek side of the building. Should an explosion occur within the building, the pressure wave from the blast would make these doors fail and the blast would be directed towards the vacant paddock and the Kororoit Creek.
In 1944 there was an explosion in this mill, injuring two workers. One of them dying from burns a number of days later (See newspaper articles).
Initially the Brimbank Council granted a part demolition permit of the mill but after a strong community campaign this decision was reversed.
In 2001, the Black Powder Mill was included in the National Trust's Heritage Register due to it's cultural heritage significance.
After extensive restoration works, the Mill was officially opened in 2003.
Today, the Mill has a yearly open day hosted by the Friends of the Black Powder Mill. The mill's machinery is displayed operating and there is also a black powder firearm demonstration.
In 2022, the Friends of the Black Powder Mill transferred the responsibility of their operations to the Sunshine & District Historical Society.
For further information on the Black Powder Mill please visit the Friends of the Black Powder Mill Website; Black Powder Mill
Ref: Friends of the Black Powder Mill
Photos: Friends of the Black Powder Mill