May 18 2017 14Comments

Where did the big ones go?

One of the largest wind wheel sizes produced in Australia was for the 35ft [10. 7 metre] Comet ‘B’ Pattern windmill.

These were made by ‘Sidney Williams & Co’. Only fifteen of them seem to have been produced. The first six were made in Rockhampton, Queensland from 1915 to 1922, and the others were made in Sydney from 1924 to 1943.There is a rumour that one 40 foot [12. 2 metre] version was made, and went to the Northern Territory. As yet there is no substantiation for this.

Below is a table of the original locations of this model, the serial number of the particular windmill, the supply date and a note on their fate where known. The specific locations of privately purchased windmills has been restricted to noting the nearest centre. The windmills were installed over water points ranging in depth from 1 O’ to 500′ and erected on a mix of 40′ 45′ and 50′ towers. [Parts of No’s 105 & 113 were used for the windmill erected at the ‘Slockmans’ Hall of Fame’ at Longreach, QLD.]

Research on what was probably the largest commercially manufactured windmill in Australia is currently under way and an article will be forthcoming.


  1. There was a 40 ft. mill built in about 1958 that was sent Northern Territory. My name is Wayne Ticehurst I was a 1st year apprentice at Dulwich hill at the time it was built. I don’t remember the pump size, but do remember one of the senior apprentice in his 5th year design a pressure chamber to go with it. Information received back at our works it was pumping water through a 6 or7 inch pipe a distance of 17 miles .Mister. Reg.[ as we all called him] Williams, was our informant. I am on to 76 years of age in December now with my memory starting to fade a little, but I have often spoken to my family about this mill. I remember Reg. his son John and brother George well. The 5years apprentice from fitting and machining to tool making I could not have been better, it makes me proud to know Comet windmills are sill ben produced. Wayne Ticehurst 1/36 Woodford street One Mile QLD. 4305

  2. I was visiting Penong in South Australia on Sat 21/10/17 and they have a Windmill Museum.
    There is a 35foot Comet Windmill ex Kultanaby railway siding which a local group of enthusiasts have refurbished with new fan blades and mechanicals.
    It really is a most impressive and imposing piece of machinery.
    The range of other makes and size windmills is most interesting.
    I was unable to paste a photo of it on this site.
    John Adamson

  3. Hi John, thanks for your great comment and we would love to get a copy of your photo. Please email it to

  4. My name is Michael Hood, and I own Blantyre station where two of the big windmills were. One of them went to South Australia to a collector and the other one I donated to the Prairie community. It has been refurbished and rebuilt and its operating as a tourist attraction.

  5. I saw a wheel from one of these mills in the grounds of the old goal at Hay, yesterday. A local, Tim Matt was responsible for moving it. As l recall he has relocated at least one other.

  6. My father Stan Hall erected comet mill around Australia for Sydney Williams around the 1950s & 60s . I was born in 1955 and was 2 when the family accompanied him in a caravan & willys tray top to some of the sites.
    I remember one site where there where black native bees (no stinger) we had to burn (smolder) cow dung to disperse the bees so we could eat. The cow pats had to be just right or they wouldnt smolder.
    Stan was sent to Jakarta Indonesia to erect the first mill over there.
    Does anyone have any information where the mills he erected may have been.

    Steve Hall

  7. There was a 35 foot mill on Cork Station out of Winton not far from the Lark Quarry Dinosaur Site.
    Also there were plenty of 27 foot mills on their properties.
    Also check out the unusual windmill at Jerilderie NSW, and there is a collection of windmills about 90 klms west of Ceduna SA. worth a visit.

  8. I was a student at LPC in Longreach in 1970 were we had work experience on a station to do maintenance on a windmill between Longreach and Winton. Not sure of the make but it was huge, only estermating the diameter 15 meters as l remember the fan was only a few meters from ground level. The mill was standing over a concrete pit, still remember the heat off the water and the steel pipes. Wonder if it is still there?

  9. brett Sheppard

    there is a old picture of in Roma
    it said the fan was 15meter
    it not there any more
    wonder where it went

  10. brett Sheppard

    feb 7 2021

    does any one know how many 36 ft southern cross windmills were made
    and if any of them are still around ?

  11. hi greg

    my name is Brett I am looking for a huge windmill for a museum

    do you remember where the windmill was ?

    thanks Brett

  12. G’day Adrian here I know one was at my family’s property at Ilfracombe previously known as Kilala which may have been one of the share bores listed it also had the largest turkeys nest that I have ever seen ( and I have seen a few) the nest was cut in half in about 1978/79 when I was there about age 11/12 , the property was sold to three neighbors and I don’t know what happened to the mill

  13. Hi
    My father John van der Kallen, worked around Winton from 1951 to 1954 fixing and building windmills along with an Irish and German guy. I’m studying family history atm and have picked the stores of his windmill days as a topic to study! He took some great photos. I just found a letter to Dad from Wallace Williams about a 35ft Mill job.
    Would anyone know how many Comet Mills there are in Australia? thanks:)

    To J. van der Kallen
    A short time ago we understand you informed Messrs. Veness and Co. that you would be interested in going to “Leichhardt Farms” to repair a 35ft. “Comet” Mill.
    We appreciate your agreeing
    to do this job as we did not care to risk sending
    any expert who might prove to be incompetent.
    It is an important large plant so the work must be
    right and our own erectors would not be available
    for several months.
    However, we cannot make any definite
    arrangement at present until we hear further from
    the Manager, Mr. Power
    Also the new parts including
    the main shaft for the mill will not be available until
    about four week’s time so we shall communicate with
    you again as soon as we can give some definite advice,
    We would always be interested to hear from
    you at any time about your progress or any other matters.
    Sidney Williams & Co
    W Williams

  14. There is a 35ft Comet on display in Hugenden. Still spins, shafts move. Awesome.

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