Heneker, James - I28
James Heneker, 1911
|Voyage to Adelaide in 1864|
|Personal role||Second Class Passenger|
|Name on list||Mr. James Henniker|
One of the passengers in the Second Class cabins of the City of Adelaide on her maiden voyage in 1864 was James Heneker (1826-1917). He was returning from a visit to the relatives and friends he had left behind near London in the English county of Kent twenty five years earlier.
He had migrated to the newly-established colony of South Australia as a 13 years old lad. After a voyage of four months out of London on the Hooghly, he was landed safely at Holdfast Bay near Adelaide on 19 June 1839. He soon found employment as a shepherd on grazing land near Nairne in the Adelaide Hills at 30 shillings per week with rations found.
In his later years he would recount his memories of being a shepherd at Thebarton when the first house was built there, and of seeing the Surveyor-General Colonel Light’s funeral. At one stage he was driving bullocks for Mr John Hill who raised the flag at the proclamation of the colony, and James was present at the opening of the new Port Adelaide in 1840. He told of being one of a party of thirteen soldiers who were sent to the Murray in the early days to protect people travelling overland from New South Wales with cattle and sheep.
Within a few years he was a teamster with his own bullock team, and transported the second group of migrant Cornish miners from Port Adelaide to the Burra mine. In 1847 and 1848 he worked for the Hon John Baker, and helped him build a house at Morialta.
In December 1849 James Heneker and Mary Ann Spencer (1828-1916) were married by the colonial chaplain Dean Farrell at the Holy Trinity Church in Adelaide. For more than a decade they lived in the vicinity of Scott Creek (now Dawesley Creek) between Nairne and Kanmantoo, where their children James, Jane, Elizabeth, Joseph, Mary, and Thomas were born in turn from 1850 until 1860. Within this period James carted the big engine from Port Adelaide up to the Callington Mine using a team of forty-four bullocks.
For a few years they moved to live in the south-east of the colony, based at Avenue Range near Lucindale, where Charlotte (1863) and William (1866) were born.
In 1869 James Henniker moved his bullock team to operate from Blinman in the Flinders Ranges. Within two years he was engaged to cart poles for the construction of the Darwin-Adelaide Overland Telegraph Line, and he travelled as far north as Alice Springs in doing so.
Mary Ann had returned to Scott Creek to give birth to another child Abel in 1870, but after she and the children joined James at Blinman, Abel (aged 2) and William (aged 5) died within two days of each other in January 1872.
In March 1876 James Heneker was carting a load of station stores, hay and chaff for Arkaba Station when he camped overnight with three other men on Wonoka Creek near Hawker. In one of the treacherous flash floods that can occur without warning in the Flinders Ranges, a wave of water swept away their four wagons and two drays, all fully laden. The goods were scattered for miles, and much was never recovered. One wagon was found suspended in a gum tree, the vehicles were completely wrecked, and had to be transported to Port Augusta for repairs. The men lost all their clothing, but they escaped with their lives.
James and Mary Ann Heneker later moved to live in a little home in Beltana, where they remained to live quietly for the rest of their lives. Mary Ann died in October 1916 after a marriage of almost 67 years, and James survived her by only five months.
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