The Rocks Windmill

Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority once again proves to be innovate and daring in its public art, historical interpretation and engagement.

On Friday I attended the launch of their latest project, the Rocks Windmill.

At first it appears to be an odd diversion, but at second glance there’s a lot more to it. The somehow sexy Costa from Gardening Australia has spent weeks cultivating spelt in planter boxes around the Rocks, which have been harvested for their grain. Any passerby can collect said grains and grind them in a full functioning, full scale windmill, using their own muscle power. You can then take them home, and bake a small loaf of bread. What you gain, other than the bread, is an experiential learning of our shared historic past, an appreciation for food life cycles and the processes behind our consumer products.

There’s more. The windmill itself is beautiful, and a gorgeous addition to the already incredibly picturesque Rocks area. Designed and built  by those rascals Paul Gazzola and Joey Ruigrok, its a functional machine, public artwork and a neat feat of engineering.

Not enough? Well they’ve also programmed a swath of fantastic performances, workshops and showings which will happen in and around the windmill over the course of the month. My pick would be;

  • Our friends at Sketch the Rhyme, an incredible live hip hop pictionary theatre game.
  • Moving Australian films from the locally based but far reaching folks at Curious Works.
  • And finally a work in development showing by My Darling Patricia, masters in puppetry and theatre

This follows on from several other SHFA wins. Their freaky fringe – meets tourists market, the Rocks Village Bizarre, and the incredible hydraulic, pyrotechnic sinking ship Fire Water a few years back. I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in both spectacles.


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