According to “Bailliere’s The South Australian Gazetteer”and Road Guide 1866, Mosquito Plains “is a tract of flat swampy pastoral country lying to the West of Narracoorte [sic], and extending North and South about 60 miles, and East and West from 8 to 13 miles. These plains are bounded on the East and West by sandy ranges, and are watered by the Mosquito creek. Limestone abounds upon them, and much of the soil is suitable for agricultural purposes. The resident magistrates are H. Seymour, A.T. Gunning, and W. Wallace Esqs.” Mosquito Creek itself is described in the same book as “a drainage creek, flowing 10 miles north of Narracoorte [sic], in a west direction, into Geary’s swamp”.
(Page 150 of Bailliere’s South Australian Gazetteer and Road Guide, 1866)
Mosquito Plains was 16 km from Naracoorte/Struan I believe actually encompassed Mosquito Plains eventually. The area became a popular stopover for miners going to and from the Goldfield in Victoria in about the 1850s.
The description of the place, and the name itself conjures up a swampy area, hence I should think the name of Mosquito Creek. Not a place I personally would find enjoyable to live in, as Mosquito’s and I do not co-exist together, and if there is one in the house it finds me.
I am unsure what James Heneker and his family were doing living in this area, although from records of some births of children to the family, they were definitely living in the South East of South Australia at this time. Whether James was farming, working as an agricultural labourer, or even going further and trying his luck at mining, which is something he did regularly in South Australia, I have been unable to find out at present.
The area around Naracoorte is not unpleasant, and definitely slightly cooler and greener than the far north of South Australia where the family eventually emigrated. Before living in this area of Naracoorte, it appears they were living at Scott’s Creek and the Nairne Area of the Adelaide Hills, which is a very green usually lush area, also a known mining area.
The information provided below from the Mount Gambier Border Watch newspaper gives school results of three of the Heneker children at the time. Elizabeth, Martha, and my great grandfather Joseph Heneker. What I find of interest is the results were published on December 30th. In Australia (at least in modern times) school term for summer finishes about the 16th December or there about, and doesn’t return until usually the very beginning of February the following year. The fact that school results were published when schools would usually be on their long holiday break, makes me wonder if school terms differed somewhat to modern times?
Article from the Border Watch Newspaper
(from our own correspondent.) ,
December 27th 1865
The examination of the scholars under the management of Mr A. Watson took place during the week. The examiners were Dr. Gunning, Mr Adam Smith, and Mr Langden. They expressed themselves as being highly pleased with the progress the children were making.Prizes were afterwards distributed to the most deserving, as follows ;-~
First class.-1. Dugald Maclauhlan; 2.
Second Class -1, Margaret Macintosh 2, Eliza Jane Agar; 3 George Hutcheons
4, Mary Ann McKinnon.
Third Class.- 1, Harriet Elsden; 2 Elizabeth Woods ; 3, Thomas Agar ; 4 George Matthews.
Fourth Class – I, Frances Morris; 2 Sarah Macinnes 3 Anne Sharpley ; 4 Hannah Smith
Second Division.-1, Emily Babbington ; 2, Robert Thomas; 3, Robert Marshall
4, Alex Calder.
Fifth Class,-1, Alexander McCalman; 2 Martha Henniker; 3, Elizabeth Henniker,
Sixth Class.-1, Mary Campbell 2; Catherine McCalman; 3, Joseph Henniker;
4. Catherine Melboune. ‘
Diligence. – Margaret Campbell ; Jane Macintosh.
Monitorial.-D. McLauchlan Sophia Camp bell. EIiza Jane Agar, Margt. Macintosh.
Writing.-D, McLauchlan, Sophia Camp bell, E. J. Agar, Mary Ann McKinnon.
The weather during the week has been very hot. Wednesday Was particularly so;
The excessive heat did not, however, interfere with the Highland games, which came off that day, The competitors for the various sports were numerous, and the affair may be said to have passed off with great eclat, There was a large concourse of spectators. A report will no doubt reach you next week.
[Border Watch (Mount Gambier SA : 1861 – 1954) Saturday 30th December 1865, Page 2 MOSQUITO PLAINS]