About James Henderson
Reported in "The Sydney Morning Herald" of Saturday 22 December 1900:
"NEWCASTLE. FIRE AT MOSQUITO ISLAND NEWCASTLE, Friday. A large weatherboard residence, situated on the banks of the Hunter River, at Mosquito Island, owned and occupied by Mr. James Henderson, architect of Newcastle, was totally destroyed by fire at an early hour this morning. The building appears to have been well ablaze before the occupants were awakened from their slumbers, and it was with difficulty that they succeeded in escaping from the burning building in their night attire. Mr. Henderson states that when he discovered that the upper portion of the front of the residence facing the river was fiercely burning, and the flames were rapidly spreading along the wooden ceilings. He had just sufficient time to arouse his family, for within the space of a few minutes the entire building was one mass of flame. The origin of the outbreak is a mystery, and the only theory which can be advanced is that the house was struck by lightning. A severe thunderstorm passed over the district during the night, and the fact that the fire originated in the roof points to the probability of lightning being the cause of the outbreak. The building consists of eight rooms, all of which were on the ground floor, and was totally destroyed, together with the entire contents. The damage is estimated to exceed £1000, and is not covered by insurance. It seems the building was insured for many years in the Australian Mutual Office for £600, and the furniture for £200. The policies, however, lapsed in June last, and owing to an oversight were not renewed."