The Histroic Gum Tree


Between 1840 and 1865, William Masson leased the land on which the school is now built. In 1857, Mr Masson and his sons constructed a paddle steamer on the land, using timber from a huge red-gum tree growing there. He named it the Mosquito.

Local reminiscence has it that the PS Mosquito was constructed under a large red-gum tree which still stands in the grounds of the Modbury West School, which can be seen above. The event is described in detail in Ian Auhl's book, "From Settlement to City: a history of the District of Tea Tree Gully 1836-1993".

As part of the South Australian Jubilee 150 celebrations in 1986, the school constructed a wooden replica of the PS Mosquito. This also served as a piece of play equipment for the students. The memory of the event lived on when, in 1998, the wooden construction was replaced with a new brightly coloured framework still in the shape of a paddle steamer.