Wheal Watkins

Wheal Watkins is an old lead and silver mine in the Adelaide Hills of South Australian near Glen Osmond.  I went to an open day on Sunday held by the Burnside Historical Society.  Dave Monceaux was the knowledgeable guide who gave us a surface tour.

Dave Monceaux talking about the lower adit

Dave Monceaux talking about the lower adit


Entrance to lower adit

Entrance to lower adit

You can go in a couple of metres to a gate and with torches we could see quite a way back into the hill.  The Cornish miners liked to make tunnels into the side of hills where they could.  Lead was first discovered on a neighbouring property in 1840 and mining started there in 1841 it was named Wheal Gawler.  Mining commenced at Wheal Watkins in 1844.

When I got home from visiting the mine I started doing some research into it.  I found that a James Heneker was the first to find lead in the area.  I recognised the name as one I had researched for a friend and yes James is her 3x great uncle.

Part of James Heneker's obituary

Part of James Heneker’s obituary

In the September newsletter of the Burnside Historical Society is a report on the state of the mine site and what they are doing to preserve and protect it.


Finds On Facebook – James Heeps

I was browsing through Facebook today and came across this picture in a genealogy group I’m part of.  Thanks to Karen for posting the photo.

Farmers Union of Victoria, Delegates At The First Conference, October 1879.

Farmers Union of Victoria, Delegates At The First Conference, October 1879, http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/177407164

This piqued my interest as a number of my ancestors moved from South Australia to Victoria, Australia and sure enough my 3x great grandfather James Heeps is in the picture.


James Heeps 1879

James Heeps 1879

James was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, England circa 1834 and came to South Australia with his parents and siblings in 1847.  He married Tamar Bodger on 11 May 1854 and stayed in South Australia until about 1860 when he moved his family to Victoria settling in the Tylden area.  Between 1876 and 1879 James moved to the Rochester/Elmore area in Victoria.  He farmed and opened a grain merchant business in Elmore.  It doesn’t surprise me that James was involved in the early days of the Farmer’s Union as he was very active in public service.  In 1887 he was made a magistrate, in 1890 he was part of the founding of the Elmore Progress Association and stood for the Victorian General Election in 1892.  He died in 1902 and is buried in Elmore cemetery with his wife Tamar.

Here is my profile for him on Ancestry.com http://person.ancestry.com.au/tree/6037348/person/-1352220757/facts

This is the only photo we have of James.  For me it is worth being on Facebook not just for the family fun and friends but for genealogy too.

My Birthplace Chart

I have been enjoying others’ birthplace charts today and here is mine.  It is a pedigree chart which starts with me and each spot shows where the person was born.  All my direct ancestors came to South Australia, some settled here and others went to Victoria during the gold rush.

MyBirthplaceChart11 South Australians

7 Victorians

6 Scottish

4 English

2 Irish

1 German



Visiting Adelaide Zoo

Last Thursday my daughter and I took the grandkids to the zoo.  I hadn’t been for about fifteen years so I was very pleasantly surprised by the changes and happy to see some familiar buildings and enclosures too.

Jess and Ilijah feeding the animals

Jess and Ilijah feeding the animals


Ilijah on the left and Josiah on the right

Ilijah on the left and Josiah on the right

The Adelaide Zoological Gardens was opened on 23 May 1883 by Sir William Robinson.  Just lately I’ve been enjoying looking up Trove for information on historical places I have visited in Adelaide, South Australia, where I live.  I love thinking about the history of the museum, the zoo, the state library, and the universities which were all places my ancestors would have been to and visiting them now and also sharing them with my grandchildren makes these experiences even more special to me.  Josiah is only three but I talk to him about how Mummy went there when she was a little girl and so did Grandma and also Grandma Bette (my Mum).

The Elephant House

The Elephant House

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I remember the Elephant House from when I was little. There is no longer an elephant at the zoo though.


A modern enclosure for Siamang apes

A modern enclosure for Siamang Gibbons

Trove Tuesday – Flaxley South Australia

We moved to Flaxley in 1973. The front room of our house was the Flaxley Post Office and Mum was the Post Mistress. I had a look on Trove to see when the earliest mention of the Post Office was. These two occurrences are quite familiar to me.

1929 is the earliest mention I could find

1929 is the earliest mention I could find

I remember the cars being packed and ready to leave our house in 1980. Mum had woolen clothing soaking in the bath tub in case we needed it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1980_Ash_Wednesday_bushfires
In 1983 my sister and I were at high school in Mt Barker and couldn’t get home to Flaxley. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ash_Wednesday_bushfires


I remember in the late 70s when lightning struck the stobie pole (power and telephone pole) out the front of the house and the live power line hung precariously over the road. My brother, sister and I were enlisted, with torches, to flag down passing traffic so that no one hit it.

Trove Tuesday – South Australian Museum

I went to the South Australian Museum with my Mum today.  One of our favourite parts is the Egyptian Room.  Mum remembers the room and the wall paintings from when she was little and we wondered when they were done.

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Egyptian Room SA Museum (my photo)


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Egyptian Room SA Museum (my photo)

Huge colored wall drawings tell the history and mythology of ancient Egypt.  The sky goddess is shown as a woman with a blue body sprinkled with stars, being upheld by a god.  Below this a man representing the earth is shown mourning for the woman the gods have stolen from him.

This is a quote from the below article describing the sky goddess in my photo, so, going by this article, the paintings were done some time in 1940.



This building still exists but it has been built on to at the front

This building still exists and has had little alteration but for an extension on the front.