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 .

Sources:
(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.