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A brief history of Henderson

Compiled by Raewynn Robertson Local History Librarian Waitakere Library and Information Services

Pre 1840 History Timber trees and forests were confined to the Waitakere Ranges with only a few small pockets of forest trees located elsewhere between the Waitemata Harbour and the Waitakere Ranges while the rest of the land thereabouts was a wilderness of scrub and fern.

Early Maori inhabitants had tracks to and from the Kaipara to the Whau Portage and the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours but these tracks were well up the Henderson Valley in the foothills of the Waitakere Ranges, and virtually no attention paid to the headwaters of the Henderson Creek where the Henderson Township was eventually established.

Henderson – History of Henderson s Mill

Thomas Henderson November 1845 – Thomas Henderson and his brother-in-law John MacFarlane purchased land through a crown grant and received land for 5000 acres. He did not receive cutting rights but was told the government would not interfere if he cut timber within the boundary of his original purchase.

He later purchased an additional 5,169 acres of waste land which was put up for sale by the government. This land covered either side of the Opanuku Stream and the Henderson Creek. This acquisition of land enabled Henderson to have undisputed ownership of the timber trees and the streams down which he could drive the logs to his proposed mill in Henderson Township.

Henderson’s Mill and township (pre 1900) 1849 – Charles Marsden built the first sawmill in Henderson (called Dundee Saw Mills after his home town).

1854 - John McLeod (‘Long John McLeod’) became mill manager.

1855 - Henderson and MacFarlane made further improvements and extensions to the mill, with the result that it became known as Henderson’s Mill.

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