Make a pinwheel like a windmill!

Canberra has various historical sites scattered throughout the region but have you ever taken a trip to Lanyon Homestead?

Take a closer look at the c.1940 Seneschal windmill used to pump water from the river to a concrete tank on a nearby hillside. The Southern Cross ‘Seneschal’ has a tower that is 20 meters tall, and the windmill is 30 feet, or about 9 meters, in diameter.

Why not step out 20 meters, and then 9 meters, along the ground to see how tall and wide the windmill is? You might need to go outside to do this! Something to ponder; why did the Southern Cross company call this model a ‘seneschal’? What does that word mean? Do you think that word fits the machine and its location at Lanyon?

Why not make a mini seneschal windmill

Follow our tutorial here: 



  • Scissors
  • Square paper
  • Gluestick
  • Pin
  • Bluetack
  • Bead
  • Pencil with Eraser


  • Fold a paper square measuring 15cm x 15cm, in half diagonally to form a cross. 
  • Use scissors to cut along the lines of the cross, stopping 3cm before the centre point.
  • Using a pin, make a small hole in the centre of the paper, and in each of the four corners. 
  • Bring the corners, one at a time into the centre point and thread onto the pin. 
  • Pass the pin through the back of the pinwheel and then through a wooden bead, or use a thick, large button.
  • Stick the end of the pin into a small eraser and put it on the tip of a 10cm dowel rod, you may need to use a bit of poster tack on the end of the dowel to fix the eraser on with. 
  • Take your pinwheel outside when there’s a breeze and see it spin!
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