Settlement & Growth
The first settlers to Herons Creek arrived in about 1875.
Herons Creek district former glory was a significant area for the pioneer timber cutting industry.
In the late 1800's the area was settled by a number of pioneer families many of whom are still represented by their descendants.
Some of the Pioneer families were Cranes, Ducks, Howells, Kennedys, Lathams, Swans, and Wades. They were attracted by the wonderful stands of timber which included cedar. The timber was felled and conveyed to Herons Creek wharf to be taken to mills, by drogher, at Laurieton and Kendall.
Eventually, land was cleared and agriculture began. Maize was the main crop, it used extensively to feed the bullocks as pastures were poor. At this time there were 22 bullock teams here. Then dairy farming began and the milk separated and cream conveyed by horse and cart to the butter factory at Kendall. The skim milk was fed to pigs and calves.
John Flynn was just one of the original Surveyors of our district.
The local life of Herons Creek from settlement & beyond
Herons Creek Railway Station
The North Coast railway was built through this district between 1915 -1917.
The train station became the hub of the township when opened on 12-Apr-1915 yet it was closed 30-Jun-1974 which saw the township begin to die.
For many years sleeper cutters earnt their bread and butter income. An area beside the station was known as Sleepers Pass. Many a goods carriage hauling timber from Herons Creek mill were on the off-line.
Children used the trains to travel to Kendall High School. It was either that or walk through Logans Crossing.
During the 1920s and 1930s the rail yard was almost completely covered with railway sleepers either waiting to be passed or waiting to be railed to a destination. These sleepers were cut by broadaxe and were always in great demand for the extension of the rail system throughout the country and beyond. Many local timbermen supplemented their income by cutting sleepers.
The last sleeper pass at Herons Creek was in the late 1960s. Bill Boyd was among these cutters and witnessed first hand the last Sleeper Pass to be held at Herons Creek. Bill's uncle Jack Boyd also transported sleepers to the railhead.
This station was demolished in 1980 following closure on 30 June 1974. We would love to know if the Herons Creek sign still exists somewhere.
Source: Footprints and Foundations
The Railway through the years
Herons Creek Heritage Church
"Herons Creek today faces a big challenge.
It's not just the need to keep this fine building in good repair, but to realize that the witness of this generation will leave its effects on the next." Mrs Evan Dykes, founding member of the Herons Creek St Mary the Virgin Church, 1977
St Mary's is the only building in Herons Creek that is heritage listed, so it is of much significance to the history of this small township, our region and state.
84 years after it first opened, the historic church was re-opened on Saturday November 26, 2011 complete with an olde days picnic in the grounds.
Re-opening day at the Herons Creek Heritage Community Chapel
Now re-opened it has been used as a church again, and as a community hall for the benefit of the people of Herons Creek. A place for community BBQs, support groups, public meetings and other activitiesas desired, for church services, weddings and funerals.
The church restoration was the dream of Martin Parish and his wife Jeanette Alderson. (Martin is the grandson of Harry and Sarah Parish, former local Post Masters, and eldest son of Kevin Parish).
Join us for Community Non-Denominational Services on the 2nd Sunday of every month at 9:37am.
Church Hire & Weddings
For more information regarding the hiring of the Church, Please contact us.
Visit the Herons Creek Heritage Community Chapel at 49 Blackbutt Road, Herons Creek.
The naming of Herons Creek
THE ORIGINS OF THE NAME OF HERONS CREEK.
There are many and varying stories of how Herons Creek was named. Archive research did not find a reference to the naming, and the NSW Geographical Naming Authority also offers no clues.
Herons Creek was originally called Queens Lake River on Parish maps of 1898. The spelling of the town name in 1893 was "Herrons Creek" featuring two Rs.
Eva Dykes (nee Baker) said, "Herons Creek was so named because a Mr. Heron had a cattle run where the Latham property is situated – not because heron birds inhabit the nearby creek areas. The local sawmill wrongfully uses the heron as its logo." (1)
Mrs Janet Elliott nee Hughes said, "Herons Creek got its name from a man that jumped over the creek called Heron". (2)
Bill Boyd recalls having heard of a version as follows, "John Oxley saw many fish (thus Herrings) in the creek as he travelled the banks trying to find a crossing, while returning home from his unsuccessful trip to find an inland sea."
Others tell of how it was named Herons Creek after a convict being brought through by Isabella Mary (Kate) Kelly. On this occasion the river was flooded and she made him go in to see if they could get across and this resulted in him drowning. His name was Heron and he was reputedly buried in the Port Macquarie cemetery. A Michael Heron alias Ahearn died at age 54 on 17.11.1840. This group's attempts to find this grave have thus far been in vain.
Kevin tells a variation on that story: "I have heard a number of stories about the naming of Herons Creek, probably all wrong. The one that currently comes to mind is that an unmarried farming lady had a number of convicts assigned to her, and she used them to help with the farm. One convict, surname Heron misbehaved and she decided to take him to Port Macquarie to have him flogged. On arrival at Herons Creek, they discovered that Herons Creek was in flood, and as there was no bridge, they had to wade across. I understand that the lady was washed away and the convict rescued her. She continued to Port Macquarie and duly had the convict flogged."
Have you heard a story about the naming of Herons Creek? Or are there other interesting yarns about Herons Creek and district history you would like to share? Please drop us a line using the form at http://www.heronscreek.com.au/index.php/contacts .
(1) Church history of St. Mary the Virgin
(2) Herons Creek Public School Centenary book
(3) This page adapted from p53 of Footprints and Foundations, Kendall Heritage Society Inc.