It is known that some time after the family of Thomas and Jemima Henniker arrived in South Australia in 1839, and camped at Emigrant Square, they moved on to Magill. Magill is located approximately 7 km from Adelaide in the eastern suburbs. Magill was first established as the 524-acre (2.12 km2) Makgill Estate, owned by two Scots, Robert Cock and William Ferguson, who met on the Buffalo en route to the newly founded colony of South Australia in 1836. It was named after Cock’s trustee, David M. Makgill. The estate’s homestead was built in 1838 by Ferguson, who was charged with farming the estate. Soon after farming commenced the two were short of cash, and thus Magill became the first foothill village to be subdivided. According to sources, Thomas Henniker was a “lime-burner” there. He then apparently moved his family further out to “First Creek”. This creates some mystery, as First Creek is not a “place” as such. First Creek is a tributary of the Torrens River, and runs Eastward towards the foothills. The suburb of Waterfall Gully has First Creek running alongside, and if one drives up into the hills at the end of the Eastern Suburb of Magill you will travel along a winding road, with many signs pointing toward the fact you are crossing over “First Creek”. First Creek then ends it journey as a “fall” at Glen Osmond. So it seems difficult at this stage to locate exactly where the family may have lived. BDM records show a number of the Henniker children being born at “First Creek” One can only wonder what sort of conditions they were living in, how cold, how damp and wet, and in summer how hot, how many snakes there were to fight off! At this time, the colony was only 3 years old, housing would have been few and far between, especially the further out the settlers went. Did they live in some sort of lean to?, a tent, or did Thomas build his family a cottage? His family was increasing, and he would have had many mouth’s to feed. While the Adelaide foothills are beautiful and green much of the year, during long hot summers, grass dries off, snakes make their home in the undergrowth, and many creeks dry out. Bushfires would also have been a frightening part of life in the summer, as they still are today.
Image: pinterest.com – Bushman inside a slab hut circa 1870, pinned from home.iprimus.com.au onto pinterest.com