An interesting story by A.W. King (Brookton) with this story about James Heneker and some mates.
I remember several who journeyed to the Blinman in the very early days—Mr. James Heneker, Mr. Tom Spencer, two brothers named Prosser, and two named Day. On their way to the Blinman the Henekers were camped on Wonoka Creek near the eating house, and in the night the Wonoka came down in flood and washed them out. I found one of the bullock yokes in the creek when I was living there. All of those, with the exception of the two Days, left Dawesley with their teams to cart wood to the mines, and copper ore to Port Augusta. In the shearing season they would cart wool from the various stations up there. How they ever travelled over the road with their loads I cannot fathom, as the road from Wonoka to the Blinman was up and down hills, and crossing deep creeks. The Day brothers had very large bullock drays, and the poor polers must have had a rough time steering the old drays by the pole, and they must have had good brakes. I believe that you have been to Angipena by road from Hawker, and if so, you are acquainted with this road. I have been over the road twice, once to Orraparinna station with a team, and before getting into the station we had to travel over a piece of road they called ‘Steps and Stairs.’ It certainly was like going up stairs. I came back on another road leading to the Wilpena road and past the Appealanna coppermine which was noted for its pure natural copper. Another time two of us travelled to Blinman with an eight horse team each, on our way to Moolooloo station to cart wool to Parachilna, and well I remember traversing that part of the road of seven miles called the ‘Jumbles’ — and jumbled we were, up and down, all the time. I can still remember, too, the lower Blinman smelling so fresh with the mint growing near the road. Blinman was a busy place in those days, as the mines were in full working and the engine was kept going all night pumping water from the shafts. I presume the business people there were Faragher and Ferris, blacksmiths, &c; Kelly, the butcher, who also kept a boarding house; McFarlane, the storekeeper; and Branch, I think, kept the hotel. At Lower Blinman Mr. Gibbs kept the hotel. Tom Spencer lived out in the hills, and at his ranch he kept 200 goats, he told me, and showed me the butter they made at Elatina. Mrs. Inglis kept a big flock of goats. We carted wool to Parachilna, three trips a week each way, and going down to Parachilna Gorge it was mostly down hill, but from the gorge into the siding the road was over a sand plain. We always camped in the street near the hotel, and it was a large township in those days, consisting of an iron hotel kept by Mr. Darmody and a bit of an ironstore kept by Mr. Helling. At the siding there was a standpipe and tank for railway use, the water coming from the Gorge by reticulation. At the Gorge there was a Mrs. Thomas with a family of six, one of them a baby living out just under the ranges. When returning home after finishing our contract we travelled down from Parachilna to Hawker on the west side of the ranges. One night we had to camp without water, but next morning after travelling on a bit we found we were near the Itlee Springs, where Mr. Pryor was watering a flock of sheep.
Another brief description of the above incident:
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.
I will write another post on that story.
Interestingly one of James’ daughter’s, Charlotte Heneker married Thomas Blinman on 20 July 1881. Tom was a son of Robert Blinman who was the original founder of the township of Blinman.
This is the ancestral land of the Adnyamathanha tribe, of Indigenous Australians prior to Europeans. They inhabited much of the area (including Wilpena Pound to the south and other areas to the north). One of their unique customs was burn offs (controlled bushfires) to promote plant growth in the future seasons.