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The Hume Corridor

The Hume Corridor runs from Sydney to Melbourne by crossing the Great Dividing Range south of Camden and following its western slopes, to cross the Murray River at Albury and to cross the range again just north of Melbourne. Our interests are in the stretch south of Camden to Albury.

Today it is an open freeway for most of the journey of eight to ten hours Melbourne to Sydney. The first settlers took five weeks to get to Albury from Sydney. Today we take five hours to complete the same journey.

The name originates from the exploratory journey of Hamilton Hume and William Hovel in 1824.

Hamilton Hume was an Australian born explorer born at Parramatta in 1797. His father was a convict supervisor who while Hamilton was very young received a grant of land at Appin near Campbelltown.

Hamilton was a venturous sort of lad who by the age of 17 had explored the country as far south as Berrima. In later years he ventured further south to Yass. As a reward for his exploratory work he received several land grants in the Goulburn area.

In 1824 Governor Thomas Brisbane introduced Hamilton Hume to William Hovel.

William Hovel was an English born sea captain who had settled in Sydney in 1819. He too was an amateur who had explored some areas to the south of Sydney. He was not an experienced bushman like Hume but was an excellent navigator.

Brisbane wanted to get some positive information in regard the rivers that seemed to run west of the great divide. He suggested to Hume and Hovel that they might combine their skills and try to get him some answers. His suggestion was that they try to connect Sydney to Spencer Gulf in South Australia.

After some debate the two venturers decided to head due south.

They set out from Hume’s property near the Lake George on the Goulburn Canberra road in October 1824.

It took them ten days to reach the Murrumbidgee River to find that it was in flood. They converted one of their carts into a floating raft by wrapping it in their tents.

Hume & Hovell crossing the flooded Murrumbidgee with pontoon raft
he next ten days was hard going as they worked their way through the hills near Tarcutta and Holbrook. Then on the 16
th November 1824 Hume saw this massive river that he named after himself. Another explorer Charles Sturt had already been on this same river and had recorded its name as the Murray.

From there they completed their journey to Melbourne.

Of course none of these towns existed at that time. They grew as the settlers moved down the route laid by Hamilton Hume and his mate William Hovel.

Our interest is to establish how many of these settlers were German.

As the Germans who came to the Camden Valley finished their contracts they began to move on to better pastures. Many went north to the Hunter, but a number also moved down the Hume Corridor settling at various places along the way.

It seems they never actually settled in a group large enough to create a community. It was more a scattered German minority.

John George Goethe came from Rosenbach, Prussia, via London in about 1833. He took up the licence of the Royal Arms Hotel in Picton. George never spelt his name the same way twice, hence he is found on records as George Gatty, Geotty, and Geothe. He died in Picton in 1860.

George Goehte is interesting because he apparently married an English woman in London who died shortly after his arrival at Picton. Then, just three weeks after her arrival in Australia, he married an Irish lass some thirty years his junior.

Tahmoor House at Picton
ahmoor House was built by an ex-convict named Edward Doyle in 1822 as a stopover place for travellers going south from Sydney.

On 1824 he sold the property to William Klensendorlffe, at German who had served in the British Navy and arrived free in the Colony in 1818. The explorers Hume and Hovell, spent a night a Klensendorlffe’s on their Southern expedition in October 1824. Klensendorlffe could afford a publican’s licence and was trading as an inn keeper by April 1825 when he came before the local Magistrate for serving liquor to convicts. Whether Klensendorlffe added to Doyle’s dwelling or started building afresh is not known. In a letter to the Colonial Secretary in 1829, Klensendorlffe stated that he had built a ‘a weatherboarded house’. He appears to have sold or moved from the property by 1829.

Another early settler to Picton was Christian Charles Louis Rumker. He was an assistant to the governor Sir Thomas Brisbane and was granted 1000 acres of land in recognition of his loyal service. However he does not appear to have stayed very long before returning to Germany.

One name that appears frequently and without strong reason is that of Andrew Ihle who seems to have owned the hotel at Picton. He was married there in 1859 at the age of 23 years.

From Picton we cross to the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range and come to Mittagong. A short drive from this city in the Southern Highlands is Joadja Creek. In 1855 this was a shale mine town that attracted the presence of the Bender family. Joseph was known as Augustus, and sometimes Augustin or Augustine, and was born on the “Helene” in Australian waters, but the ship’s record says he was born in Germany.

Baby Augustus arrived in Australia on the 18th of March 1853 with his parents Thaddaus Bernard Bender and Mary Regina Frohnle together with their other children six year old Francis Martin Bender and four years old Willahmenia from Wuerttemberg.

Also on the ship were Mary Regina’s sister Maria Elisabetha and her husband Lorenz Joseph Schmidt.

A little further down the highway we find the Schardt, Siebertt and Knie families who ventured off the modern highway to settle in places like Captain’s and Monoglo Flats near Queanbeyan.

Further down the road we find the Melzer family who settled in Gundagai. Here again we see the union of German and Irish as Antoni Melzer married Mary Maroney in 1861 at Five Mile Creek . Today it is where the dog sits on the tuckerbox. Antoni was born in Garshwitz Germany.

Some moved to one side or the other of the corridor. Albert Bamgarten settled in Tumbarumba and in later years became a coach driver for Cobb & Co.

Another settler to Tumbarumba was Lorenz Wolter. He was a locvla brick maker and mason in about 1862.

One Johann Peter Fraunfelder was contracted to work on a two year contract at Kyeamba station near Wagga Wagga, just 100 kilometres North West of Albury. Peter came out on the “Beulah” in 1849.

Along the Hume Corridor we find one town where we need to stop and look for our German ancestors. Halfway between Sydney and Melbourne is the small town of Holbrook.

Holbrook began life as Ten Mile Creek. Later it was called Germantown until World War One. At this time a lot of places with German names were changed. Germantown was re-named Holbrook after a submarine captain.

The first settler in the area was a German born shepherd, Johann Pabst. He arrived in Australia in 1825 to work for Macarthur's Australian Agricultural Company in the Camden valley.

Ten years later having completed his contract with Macarthur, he and his Irish wife and two daughters moved down the corridor to Ten Mile Creek where he took up a selection of land.

In 1838 he found a roadside inn that was looking for a mine host. He took over the Woolpack Inn. Up to this time it was colloquially known as ‘The Grog Shop’ but it soon became known to travellers and locals as ‘The Germans”

In 1858 the town was officially named “Germantown”. Whether it was this colloquial name or because of an influx of German settlers is unclear.

Although it is difficult to gather much historical fact about the early German settlers in this area it does seem that Germantown was well know to Germans arriving in Sydney. There is more than one instance where a sailor jumped ship in Sydney and fled to Germantown in southern New South Wales to evade capture. One such sailor was Carl Waldemar Brachmann who jumped from the “Antuco" in 1911 and headed directly to the Murray region, stopping in Germantown and settling there for life

^ Albury and Riverina Districts

The Riverina of which Albury is the southern and largest city has a complex story of German migration. A large percentage, probably 50%, came across from South Australia while the rest drifted in from Sydney and Melbourne.

We have talked about Germans filtering all the way down the Hume Corridor from Camden to Albury. We have noted how a significant number stopped to rest and stay at places like Holbrook. Some also wandered east across into the mountain ranges while for others it was to the west over the range.

Melbourne had a large scale German migration in the 19th century. Those with a wander lust made their way north to eventually settle in Albury.

The Melbournians seemed to travel east toward Beechworth. The South Australians all hesitated at Walla Walla and branched out from there.

A typical example of how migrants drifted down the Hume Corridor is found in the case of Heinrich Conrad Drewes. Drewes first arrived in Brisbane in 1863. He settled for about seven years in the northern capital before ambling his way down to Albury where he lost his heart to Hannah Wheeler. They married and settled in the Albury district.

Then we have Heinrich Schubach and his wife Anna who set sail for Sydney in 1855 on board the Catteaux Wattel. Heinrich died on the voyage but Anna settled in Albury where Heinrich’s children, who had already migrated, were firmly established in life.

On 10th October 1857 the local catholic priest began to preach a percentage of his sermon in German. Such was the number of German Catholics living in the area. More than one third of the 600 population of Albury was German and the majority of these were Catholic.

One of the families that came through Sydney was that of Christian Haeffner. He was a cooper in Baden but it seems he did not stay long in the Camden valley if he ever did get to there. He arrived in Sydney in 1852 and was found in the Albury area a short few months after that. It does seem his interest was more in gold prospecting than grape growing and he spent much of his time on the Victorian side of the border in Beechworth.

His brother William followed him in 1855.

When their contract at Kyeamba Station finished the Frauenfelder family moved south to Albury where they became pillars of the community.

Together with the families of Sebastian Schubach and Henry Rau they were among the first German families to arrive in Albury. All three families planted vineyards and so began the wine industry along the Murray.

Johann Peter Frauenfelder and his wife Margaretha Pfohler came to Australia on the “Beulah” in 1849 on contract to Mr. Walker who held the rights to Kyeamba Station between Tarcutta and Wagga Wagga. Both Peter10 and Margaretha had been previously married and were widowed with children. They married two days before leaving from GroBsachsen in October 1848.

Peter and Margaretha were impressed with their new home in the new land to such an extent that Peter persuaded his brothers Johann and Friedrich and Margaretha’s sister Katherina Barbara Pfohler to join them in Albury. His influence went beyond brothers and sisters to cousins such as Charles Frederick Frauenfelder.

The children of Peter and Margaretha were to become icons of Albury’s history. There was Margaretha’s daughter Genofeva Pfohler and Peter’s children:

  • Barbara Katharina, who married Philip Helm of Schriesheim Baden and migrated to Albury in 1854

  • Eva Elizabeth,who married Richard Carroll of Ireland. She died in Albury 1868 leaving four sons and five daughters.

  • Margaretha married Philip Goebel of Kidderich Nassau. She died in 1854 leaving a son Charles Goebel who went to live with his Grandfather Johann Peter.

  • Anna Maria, born 1833, married to John Molitor of Hesse, Homberg.

  • Peter John

  • John Peter born 1837

  • George Valentine who died before the family left Germany.

  • Maria Elizabeth Theresia, born 8 October 1843 married Anton Keehammer of Baden

It is believed that all of these children migrated to Australia either with Peter and Margaretha or at some time during the next decade.

We read in John’s diary that his brother Peter drowned in 1872. He had married Phillipp Rau’s daughter Elizabeth Rau who became a widow with five children.

Another family member who migrated was Philipp Helm and his wife Barbara Frauenfelder from Schrushiem, Baden. They came out on the “Victoria” berthing in Melbourne in 1854. One of their daughters married a French migrant named Andrew Joseph Tulau.

In later years John Frauenfelder moved out to Lavington where he established orchards specializing in the growing of prunes.

Georg Frauenfelder and Anna Maria Schubach migrated to Albury and in later years their son Joseph Henry Frauenfelder, became the licensee of the Turks Head Hotel. The Frauenfelder family also held the licence for the Town Hall Hotel in Albury.

^ The South Australian Germans

The Germans from South Australia began their trek across to the Riverina districts in the 1860s.

These Germans were very different from those coming via Sydney. They had left Germany for religious reason and lived very much within their religious practices. They had formed separate communities in Germany and on arrival in South Australia had maintained this community life style.

They were all farmers. In South Australia they had grown in numbers until the availability of land had become a problem.

In 1861 the New South Wales government had passed the Robertson Land Act. This allowed the opening up of land to family units on payment of a small deposit and the remainder in instalments over a prescribed period of time. Each family member could claim a minimum of 40 acres and a maximum of 320 acres. This meant that a family of Father, Mother and two children could claim as much as 1280 acres.

Mr Schultz, a South Australian community leader, was asked to go over to the Riverina area to seek out sufficient land for 700 to 800 families. He selected an area that was known as Dight’s Forest. The area had originally been a pastoral lease held by John Dight who took up his selection shortly after the journey of Hume and Hovel from Sydney to Melbourne in 1824. Dight had named his property 'Jindera' and Schultz adopted that name for the district where his German friends would settle.

The first 60 families left the Barossa Valley in 1867 and after six weeks they arrived at Jindera.

A German wagon
hey brought all their worldly possession by German Wagon. A German Wagon was used by the early South Australian Germans for transport work. These were a wagon exclusive to the German settlers in South Australia. The wagon had no springs, was made on a heavy hardwood and needed two horses to pull it. The sides were slanted and it had no tail gate or front barrier. The adults sat on a seat near the front while the children sat inside the wagon amongst the cargo. They carted everything: livestock, produce and household groceries in the one cart at the one time.

On their arrival at Jindera they found a wattle and daub cottage. This cottage had been there for a number of years. It was used by the shepherds employed by John Dight. The occupant of the hut may have been a German who came via Sydney under the Kirschner programme. It is known that Kirschner brought out a number of shepherds from Silesia and that they were employed by pastoralists as far south as Albury.

In a wattle and daub Cottage, the walls were made of saplings or branches and the gaps filled in with mud and cow manure. The kitchen was in the centre of the building with a fire place on which all the cooking was done. The rooms all opened out into the kitchen.

The South Australian Germans built slab huts using local bush timber sawn into poles and planks.

The front entrance to a German slab hut
n a slab hut the roof extended out in the front and back to make a verandah. The back verandah served as the laundry and a store place for selected farm equipments. The dog usually slept chained up under the back verandah.

Another group of fifty six people in fourteen wagons and two spring carts with a number of farm animals travelled across from South Australia in 1868. They went from the Barossa down to a place near the Murray and then followed its course to Albury. At the same time they had made arrangements for paddle steamers to transport food stuff and machinery that was impractical to bring in their little convoy.

It is interesting that the majority of Germans in South Australia had come from Silesia and Saxony. Yet those who came to Albury in this first group were Wends.

The Wends, known in Germany as the Sorbs, are a minority Slavic people. They homeland is concentrated in an area known as Lusatia in the eastern corner of Germany that borders the Czech Republic.

Their history goes back more than a thousand years, but they became Lutheran during the Reformation period. In the 19th century the area of Lusatia straddled the political borders of three German territories. The northern part centred on the city of Cottbus, was part of the Prussian province of Brandenburg, and the southern part centred on the city of Bautzen, was part of the kingdom of Saxony. After 1815 a section across the centre of Lusatia was added to Silesia.

Although Lusatia was part of the territory of German states, the Wends had their own language, cultural customs and traditional dress. Both the German and Wendish languages were used in Lusatia. However, the German language was used for all official business.

Famine in the late 1840s caused many to emigrate, and encouraging letters back home from the significant number of Wends who had gone to South Australia, greatly increased the migration rate.

In South Australia they settled alongside Germans. Here they eventually stopped using their Wendish language, because their German neighbours couldn't speak Wendish. Furthermore, most British-Australians thought they were Germans.

This group of Wends took five and a half weeks to arrive at their destination. On arrival the town’s people of Albury gave them a rousing welcome before they moved on to establish a settlement at a place they called Ebenezer. These Germans were rather attached to their past and Ebenezer was the district in South Australia from whence they started their journey. In later years the name was changed to Walla Walla.

It was the initial desire of these South Australian migrants to take up land on the Victorian side of the Murray at Chiltern. However the procrastination of the Victorian government caused them to seek other alternatives. Meanwhile the New South Wales government, through its Albury Lands Office, found them a grant of 5000 acres at a place they named Ebenezer.

The children and families at the opening of the Lutheran School at Jindera
ther German families from South Australia soon followed and by 1872 there were German settlements at Jindera, Bethel, Ebenezer (Walla Walla) and Gerogery. By 1880 there were further settlements at Alma Park (Wallendal), Pleasant Hills, Munyabla and Edge
Hill. In the next decade we see them spreading out further as far as Henty, Milbrulong and Uranquinty. With the turn of the century they had expanded as far north as Temora and some even further north into Gilgandra.

In 1868 a Lutheran school was opened at Jindera.

In 1877 the residents of Ebenezer petitioned the New South Wales government for a post office. The petition signed by all the residents of the district had only one non-German name on it. The post office was granted and located at the home of the school teacher Frank Zillius.

^ Across The Western Plains

The Great Dividing Range slopes west to become a huge flood plain that stretches the full length, north to south, of New South Wales and west to the border of South Australia.

One can travel this north-south plain along a thousand kilometre stretch of new South Wales called the Newell Highway. It starts in central southern NSW at the Victorian border on the Murray River, at Tocumwal. From there it traverses through the western parts of the Riverina, the Western Plains and the Pilliga to leave the state at Goondiwindi in Queensland.

^ German Lutherans

We can follow the settlements of our German ancestors through the cities and towns of: West Wyalong, Parkes and Dubbo, Gilgandra, Narrabri and Moree. All of these are on the highway while Henty, Wagga Wagga, Temora, and Bathurst lie to the east.

The biggest influx of settlers seems to have descended from the German Lutherans who had settled earlier in the Riverina. As they multiplied their need for land became more urgent and so they began their trek north.

It was not long before they turned their eyes to new horizons where even bigger blocks of land might be available. Hence we saw them move north from Walla Walla through Henty, past Wagga Wagga to Temora. As we entered the 20th century we found elements of these families continuing their northern trek through West Wyalong and up to Parkes and Forbes. Still more moved even further north and established a settlement near Gilgandra. It is easy to follow the path of these German Lutherans because where three or more families settled they built a Lutheran Church.

Sadly these families did not mixed with other German families in any part of New South Wales. Mostly they seem to have lived in a state of isolation from their kin folk, which is a poignant indictment on them, or is it on the rest of us?

^ The Western Plains Region

One of the first Germans to cross the Blue Mountains was Pastor Johann Peter Christian Handt in 1832. At the instigation of Reverend John Dunmore Lang, he was sent out by the London Missionary Society to take the Christian message to the aborigines. Although the colonial fathers were keen to Christianize the aboriginal people they could not or would not persuade English clergy to undertake this task. As a result they went to Germany and brought Lutheran pastors to perform this task in most parts of Australia.

Later on there was another group who crossed the Blue Mountains. They trudged over the range to settle at Carcoar near Mudgee. These families worked for, amongst others, Thomas Icley who had large holdings in the district. They worked as vinedressers, winemakers, coopers and shepherds. On completion of their contracts they seem to have moved into their own land or business in Mudgee and other nearby towns. A number established wineries, some of which are still operating.

One of the families to cross the mountains was that of Andreas Happ and his wife Sarah Ann from Lorch Rhein, Hessen. They arrived in 1850 to work for Captain John Piper at Alloway Bank near Bathurst.

Carl Christian Mehl was born in Stralsund Germany. He became a seaman and on his travels married an Irish colleen named Ellen Sullivan in London in 1854. They spent their honeymoon migrating to Australia and after leaving the ship in Sydney they went to find the end of their rainbow on the Bendigo goldfields. The end of the rainbow wasn’t there. They must have decided to try another gold rush town. They came back to New South Wales trying to find a fortune at Ironbark (now Stuart Town). Here they settled down and became a part of the stable community. Stuart Town is a small town about four hundred kilometres west of Sydney as we head toward Dubbo.

Another family to settle in Stuart Town was Carl August Wilhelm Weber who became the town baker. He also married an Irish colleen.

Another German who tried to find his fortune by following the gold finds was Wilhelm Kohler. He travelled through the Victorian fields before finally coming to Dubbo in 1859 where he became an artist. He married Antoinette Bedat in Dubbo in 1858 and maybe she slowed his wanderings.

A little further south, west of Stuart Town, we find Hillston on the Lachlan River and the western edge of the Riverina. It was to Hillston that Frederick Wilhelm Reinhold Brett Schneider came from Pomerania to settle. It seems that he may have come via Victoria and not Sydney to make his home in this new land.

Frederick was joined in Hillston by Johann Adam Hertel and his wife Christiane Friederike Trampelt came from Saxony. They arrived in Australia in 1855 on board the “Louise” to work in the Narellan district near Camden. After completion of the contract they moved south to Goulburn and then across the range to Hillston.

Gunnedah became a strong German settlement when the South Australian Germans moved into the area in the early 20th century. However, long before that one Edward Charles Loss from Halle, Germany, who had arrived in New South Wales in 1855. He seemed to have wandered around the Gold Fields building Rocker Boxes and doing other carpentry jobs for the miners. He eventually settled as the local carpenter before ending up in the small German community of Gunnedah.

This were he settled down and married a fellow German, originally from Assmanshausen, Germany. Edward seems to just have a record of having been on a ship from Hamburg, and forgot to rejoin his ship when it left Sydney.

^ The Pilliga Germans

In the far north of the Newell we found another German migration taking place. Families that had settled on the Clarence and the Darling Downs in Queensland had spread their wings and entered the Pilliga. They came across the range and journeyed past Glenn Innes, Armidale and Tenterfield to make a home in Inverell and Narrabri. Once again they lived a fairly quiet existence. So quiet in fact that within a couple of generations nobody was aware that it was the Germans who helped make this district the rich agricultural and pastoral source that it is.

They arrived in the district at different times and for different reason during the century. The first arrivals came as shepherds in the forties and fifties, some came to select and work in the vineyards in the sixties, others were miners in the seventies and another group became associated with Inverell's commerce in the seventies and eighties.

Although quite a large German community developed in the Inverell region, a Lutheran church was never established, but a Lutheran congregation did exist. Pastor Haussman used to travel from Grafton to conduct services in the Presbyterian Church.

It should be noted that the majority of Germans coming from the Hunter Valley were catholic.

Many descendants of these hard working emigrants have remained in the Inverell district, but it is a sad fact that they have no German traditions or language, unlike their Queensland and South Australian brothers. 

The story of Albert Ehsman illustrates the speed with which many German families became assimilated. Ehsman was one of three sons who migrated to Australia in the 1850's in order to avoid being conscripted into the army of the German state of Hanover. He was employed as a shepherd on Newstead Station, where he soon married the daughter of another shepherd of German origin, Muller.

The Anderson family owned Newstead at the tiem and wer responsible for thre morgtaion of several fmaileis including the familes of Carl Holzmann, Andreas Floh, August Hartmann, Carl Osenberg and Eanes Detzel.

In the seventies the family began to make selections near Swan Peak, totalling eight hundred acres in 1884, where they struggled to make a living as woolgrowers. Part of this land was retained by Albert’s descendants until recent years. When WW1 broke out, in order to make enlistment easier, two of the Ehsman sons began to spell their name Eshman. No German traditions survived among Albert Ehsman's children, and so little allegiance to the fatherland was evident that one of them was put in charge of German internees at Trial Bay Gaol.

The Prinz family arrived in Maitland in 1853. When their contract finished they packed their wagon and migrated across the range and across the plains to settle at Narrabri.

One family that came to Narrabri from the Hunter Valley and made their mark was that of Johann Hans Stoltenberg. He arrived on the “Alster” in 1862 from Bendfeld, Schleswig-Holstein. He began life in Australia as a farm hand in the Ravensworth district where he met and married Barbara Dries.

After farming in the Singleton area for a number of years, he packed the wagon and moved to Narrabri where he continued farming.

Generally the South Australian Germans did not socialise with the Germans coming from other parts of the state. Stoltenberg was one of the few exceptions when Johan’s son John married Sophia Hoffmann.

Asmus Stoltenberg arrived in Sydney from Lutterbek, Schleswig-Holstein on the “Garonne” in 1879. He also worked in the Hunter Valley for a number of years and eventually married Elana Stoltenberg the sister of Johann. Elana and Asmus had no blood relationship despite both coming from the same part of Germany.

In time he worked his way via Quirindi to Narrabri.

Asmus’ sister Laura arrived in Narrabri fleeing a wayward husband left behind in Germany. She married a local man and like the rest of her family became a well respected member of the Pilliga community.

Yet another family that settled in Narrabri and made a name for themselves was the two brothers, Ritter. They had migrated from Binswanger, Wurttemberg to work initially in the Hunter Valley. They moved from the Hunter to Narrabri within twenty years of their arrival in the colony.

Franz Carl Ritter immigrated on the 'Undine', but not as an assisted vinedresser because he was not married. However, his occupation on the Hamburg list is Weingartner, not Schafer, so he apparently was not recruited as a shepherd, as were most of the unmarried men. He went to Patrick's Plain (now Singleton) in New South Wales and was married there in 1861. His bride was from Neckarsulm and also sailed on the 'Undine' with her parents in 1855. Catherine's father was introduced into Australia by Cyrus Matthew Doyle of Paterson River. Franz Carl was a farmer and died from injuries received while driving a team of horses. He fractured his spine.

Meanwhile there were also a large number of German Emigrants who settled in the Inverell and Warialda areas in mid 1800's. Some of these we talked about when looking at German settlement into New England. Inverell is about halfway between Glenn Innes and Narrabri so it is often arguable as to whether it is in New England or The Pilliga

Casper Limberg arrived via the USA and NZ aboard "Elizabeth" 1866. He was one the first selectors of land in the area and became naturalised in 1869 to enable him to do this.

His wife was Margaret Goldmann whose parents arrived aboard the "Johann Caesar" in 1855 and settled in Wellingrove near Glenn Innes.

^ New England German Migrants

East of the Pilliga and north of the Hunter we have New England with yet another lost story of German migrants in the 19th century.

In 1826 Governor Darling replaced Governor Brisbane as the chief administrator of the colony. Brisbane was interested to find a way from Sydney to Adelaide and sent Hamilton Hume and his mate William Hovel to find that path. Instead they found an inland highway connecting Sydney to Melbourne.

Meantime a settlement had been established in Moreton Bay. The new governor was keen to find a way overland to connect the two settlements.

He gave the job to a botanist named Alan Cunningham. Cunningham had been sent out by Sir Joseph Banks of Cook’s journey up the east coast, to gather plants from the inland parts of the colony. Already by 1820, Cunningham had travelled with Oxley as he explored the Lachlan and Macquarie Rivers.

Cunningham set out from Bathurst in 1826 to travel north. He crossed New England Ranges and eventually came across the wide rich Darling Downs plains. He tried to find a way through the range to the Moreton Bay settlement but the ranges proved far too rugged for him. He was short of supplies and his horses were starting to feel the effects of the journey so he turned back down the road to Sydney.

Next year in 1828 he sailed up to Moreton Bay and after some effort discovered the gap in the range that bears his name. He crossed the range and ventured down through New England to the Hunter Valley and on to Sydney.

Today we can drive down New England Highway, across the undulating plains, over the rugged ranges and through picturesque valleys from Queensland to Sydney.

Woolly sheep and Kelpie dog symbols of New England
his part of New South Wales boasts some of the most picturesque and richest pastoral country in Australia. From when it leaves the Hunter Valley north-west of Maitland, we experience six hours of ranges, valleys and open plains.
New England lies on the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range and falls away to the western plains of the Pilliga region of New South Wales.

Travelling north from Sydney the first major city we find is Tamworth, famous world wide for its annual country music festival. Not very far up the road is Uralla and Armidale the home of a number of German migrants of the 19th century.

Unlike South Australia where every German family seemed to go from the ship to the Barossa Valley and move on from there, New England Germans seemed to have come via Moreton Bay, the Clarence River region or Sydney to New England. Many are what we might call an overflow population from the Hunter Valley as well as the Clarence region and the Darling Downs.

For this exercise we will come down the road from Queensland to the Hunter Valley knowing that many of our families went up the road and then across.


In 1860 Charles Leis became the publican at Tenterfield. He married into the family of Martin Claus Schroder who came with his parents to Australia from Schleswig-Holstein in 1865 on the ‘La Rochelle’. He owned two hotels in West Tenterfield.

Another German migrant to settle in Tenterfield and operate a commercial business was Julius Imberger who operated a successful sawmilling industry in the town, whilst his son operated a Cordial factory during the 1920's. He was succeeded by another cordial maker named Rudolph Braun who was in operation prior to 1875.

Other Braun’s appear to have been there during the 1890's.

The Schroder family were successful dairy farmers at Tenterfield. Johann Henrich Schröder arrived at Moreton Bay sometime in 1850's on the “Caesar Godefroy”. His brother Peter Schröder arrived about the same time. Then in 1864 Claus and Margaretha Schröder arrived on the ‘La Rochelle’ with their children Claus Martin and Anna. It is interesting that we also find an Augusta Schroder who had 2 children in Tenterfield with no recorded father.

Another Tenterfield German family was that of Anthony and Catherine Mary Stamm who arrived in Australia in about 1850. It appears that Anthony was dead by 1861 because Catherine Mary is found to have married another German, Frances Sharpenberg, in 1861. She married a third time to another German migrant named George Geisler in 1871 and appears to have then settled in the Warialda district.

Also in Tenterfield we find the Hars and Reibelt families as well as that of Deitrich Morseman who came to Moreton Bay and in time journeyed down to Tenterfield where he became a successful dairy farmer..

We know that there was a rather large German community near Tenterfield because in the 1870s there was a Lutheran congregation and possibly a church.

^ Towards Inverell

Johann Matthias Elvers came from Hanover and married in Australia a Mary Ann Forsyth in about 1860 at Bingara on the far western edge of New England.

Franz & Catharina Dezius arrived in Sydney from Kiedrich, Germany on the 23rd of May 1855. They sailed on the "Peru". They were married in Oct 1854. Franz was sponsored by Mr. George Morse of "Abington" Bundarra. Bundarra was a sheep station community about seventy five kilometres west of Glenn Innes on the road to Inverell and Bingara.

Franz was involved with initial planting of a vineyard across the creek from the homestead.

When his contract finished in 1856 he moved to a place called Sawpit Gully on the Rocky River where he appears to have started his own sawmills.

He was naturalized in 1880 and became the local publican at Bundarra for a time.

If we go further west we come to Inverell. Here a number of German families, coming mostly it seems from the Hunter, settled.

There were a large number of German Emigrants, including the Discher family that settled in the Inverell/Warialda area in mid 1800.

Wellingrove/Glenn Innes

One of the first and foremost German families to come into New England was Johann Baptist Kneipp.

They came from the small village of Winkel in the picturesque district lying between the Rhine River and the Taurus Mountains.

Johann migrated to Australia to escape military service in the Prussian army

He married Caroline Utz who migrated to Australia with her brother Jonathan Frederick Utz on the “Sophie” in 1860.

Johann Baptist and Caroline Kneipp
ohann and Frederick settled in the Glenn Innes area where Frederick became a prominent business man and community leader. He was Mayor of Glenn Innes for a number of years.

Ernest Haupt settled at Glen Innes where he died in 1911.

Margaret Goldmann together with her parents and siblings arrived aboard the "Johann Caeser" in 1855 and settled in Wellingrove about 18 kilometres west of Glenn Innes. She married Caspar Limberg who arrived from New Zealand in 1866. Caspar was one the first selectors of land in the area after becoming naturalised in 1869.


Phillip Hottes and Elizabeth Wagner arrived on the ‘la Hogue’ as steerage passengers in 1870. They settled at Road Range near Deepwater. Other family members, namely Susanna Hottes and Phillip Muller, her brother Phillip Hottes and Elizabeth Wagner and another sister Anna Katharine Hottes who married Henry Kratz came out at about the same time and settled in Glenn Innes. It is interesting that the first generation daughter Catherine married the Irish migrant James O’Brien.

The Vaupel family came from Reichensachsen, Hessen to Glen Innes and Armidale in 1853.

^ Kelly’s Plains/Armidale

To the south of Armidale lies Kelly's Plains. This was the scene of a small German community in the 1860s. There were other German families in Armidale and at Saumarez Ponds about seven kilometres west of Armidale.

The majority of these families came from Eltville and neighbouring villages along the Rhine. Wilhelm Kirschner played a leading role in organising their migration while William Dangar and Arthur Palmer appear to have been the main sponsors.

Dangar had large holdings in and around Armidale. He was known to have strong preference for German shepherds, farm hands and sheep. Palmer was his manager on the Gostwyck holdings where a number of German families settled.

Then in 1855 we find the Beckerfamily coming from Reichensachsen, Hessen to Armidale

Theodore Kunz arrived on the Gottorp in 1857 from Obererlenbach Germany. German families associated with the family are Elizabeth and Catherine Brandscheid and Christian Iverson.

The family settled at Kelly Plains near Armidale but later they moved to Bendemeer and Uralla. Several family members later moved to other places in the district such as Tamworth, Gunnedah and Narrabri.

The majority of German settlers seem to have come north from the Hunter Valley. Some came down from Moreton Bay but others like the Baumgartner, Hamell and Eckert families arrived in Grafton. When their contract finished, they crossed the range to settle at Saumarez Ponds near Armidale. They were brought to Australia under the Bounty Scheme and contracted by Wilhelm Kirschner in Württemberg.

Those who had come out on the Bounty Scheme still had debt to pay. This was achieved within a few short years because of the diligence and determination found in the German character. Once the debt was paid they purchased land for themselves. They then worked and developed their own land while working part time for the large landholders.

Johannes Berger and Elizabeth Paulus with their son arrived in Moreton Bay, Queensland on 30 Nov 1863 on the "San Francisco". They moved to Deepwater twenty six miles north of Glen Innes, then to Yarrowford and later to Glen Innes.

One of their daughters married Johann Orth.


Further down the road at Gostwyck a little town about fire kilometres east of Uralla, came the Eichhorn family from Lampoldshausen, Württemberg.

Another German family to settle at Gostwyck in 1855 was the Lasker family from Frauenstein, Nassau.

Another early German to New England was Johann Diederichs who arrived at Moreton Bay on the ‘Aurora’ in 1855. He came out as a shepherd to work in the Armidale district.

When his contract finished he continued to work as the overseer on the property. In 1870 he appears to have gone mining because in that year he was killed when the bank into which he was mining fell and smothered him.

Continuing down the highway we stop at Trundle where we find Gottfreid Trinks and his wife Sybella. He seems to have settled there until his death in 1873.

Then we find Wilhelm Ulrich together with Sophia Schroder, Frederick Schroder and Henry Schroder had themselves listed as a family to meet the requirements of the Bounty Migrant Scheme and their sponsor the Australian Agricultural Company. They arrived in Sydney in 1854 on board the ‘Singapore’ and then travelled by steamship to Port Stephens where they disembarked to commence work for their employers as shepherds and hutkeeper.

They were among a group of about a dozen shepherds coming from the Mecklenburg region on contract to the Australian Agricultural Company in the Stroud area. It appears that there was not the normal happy relationship between these shepherds and the sponsor.

As soon as their contract finished they moved on to other fields.

A little further south at Tamworth we find the Britz brothers. There was Karl Herman, Karl Julius and Karl Robert. Julius and Herman settled in the Tamworth region while Robert moved further south into the Hunter and settled at Emmaville.

^ The Hunter Valley Home of Australia’s Wine Industry

The largest Germans migration of the 1850s was north of Sydney into the Hunter Valley. It would be impossible to talk about the migration programmes of Wilhelm Kirschner without stopping to look more closely at the Hunter.

The Hunter Valley region is located about 160 kilometres north of Sydney. It comprises the large and wide valley of the Hunter River which stretches inland for about 70 -80 kilometres. The valley stretches from the Hawkesbury River just north of Sydney to Taree about 100 kilometres north of Newcastle the main centre. It reaches west as far as Maitland.

The Hunter Valley first came to the attention of the early settlers because of the huge coal resources. This was soon followed by the discovery of its rich soils suitable for most crops.

Most of New South Wales’ electricity is generated from several large power stations situated on these coal fields.

This region in New South Wales can rightfully claim to be the cradle of wine production in Australia.

Many of the Germans vinedressers, winemakers and coopers who had came out to work on the vineyards in the Camden Valley found employment in vineyards of the Hunter Valley in the 1840s. This involved not just the lower Hunter region itself but as far afield as Maitland.

The first record of vines being planted in the Hunter Valley was in 1820 when an Ex-convict named ‘Molly’ Morgan established a wine shack in what is now Maitland and served booze to convicts and emancipists working in the local coal mines or travelling through the area.

Perhaps the Convicts had developed a taste for wine on the transport ships or just wanted to drink themselves into oblivion. Either way, their love of ‘grog’ made them avid consumers, whatever the wine's quality.

With the arrival of the free settlers, agricultural and pastoral activities rapidly grew to rank with timber and mining in economic importance. One of the new farming industries introduced was the growing of grapes.

By 1823 some 20 acres of vineyards had already been planted on the northern banks of the Hunter River in an area between Maitland and Singleton. Among the names of pioneering vignerons were George Wyndham of Dalwood, William Kelman at Kirkton and James King of Irrawang.

The industry was given a solid boost when the amateur viticulturalist James Busby arrived back in the colony of New South Wales with a named collection of some five hundred vine cuttings, drawn from collections and private plantings in Europe and South Africa.

The Busby Collection, initially planted out at Sydney’s then newly established Botanic Gardens, has come to be regarded as the base from which Australia’s wine industry developed.

James Busby’s sister, who had also come out on the ship with him married William Kelman. The couple took up a land grant at Kirkton on the Hunter River near Morpeth. There was a small vineyard already planted in the area. Kelman was inspired by both this and Busby’s collection of grape varieties. From there the Hunter Valley grew into a flourishing wine producing area. By 1840 the Hunter Valley’s registered vineyard area exceeded 500 acres.

Between 1835 and 1837 the New South Wales government undertook a plan to bring migrants from continental Europe to work in the cultivation of vines and olives for the manufacture of wine and oil. This plan had a very short life span as the British government vetoed it almost as soon as it began.

In 1842 Ludwig Leichhardt visited the Hunter and explored its upper reaches. He spent several months in the region as a guest of the settlers. He collected botanical specimens for his friend William Kirschner as well as preparing plans for his later explorations in the north of the colony. We know that one of his hosts was the wine maker Helenus Scott of Glendon Wines. We can assume therefore that the wine industry in the Hunter was well on its way by 1842.

Leichhardt’s friend Wilhelm Kirschner was both a consul and an entrepreneur. He was to play a key role in the German immigration to the Hunter Valley and later the Clarence River regions of New South Wales.

In 1847 we find the first agent for bringing German migrants to New South Wales. As transportation had come to an end in 1840, Mr Beit saw the opportunity to make a good deal of money out of a large scale migration scheme. There was an acute shortage of manual labour in the colony and Beit saw that he could hire ships and for an agreed fee select suitable German migrants for the colony. As a result Beit set himself up as an agent to bring vine dressers, wine makers and coopers to both New South Wales and to New Zealand. He pressured the colonial governments to grant his migrants British citizenship on arrival. This meant they could then buy land immediately they arrived. At that stage the law forbid anybody holding land in New South Wales until he was naturalised.

It appears that this agent was not as successful as he would have liked. There is one case on record of a vine dresser named Schieb who was promised his own plot of land by Beit. After some time of waiting and finding himself in a financial crisis, Scheib deserted Beit and took up permanent work with George Wyndham of Dalwood

It was also in 1847 that Britain relented on its previous policy of no migrants to the colony except from England. It broadened its assisted immigration scheme to include non-British people wishing to migrate to Australia provided they possessed skills not available in British migrants. As England did not have a wine industry the vine growers in the Hunter needed to look to the continent of Europe for manpower. This change to the regulations allowed them to do that. The Rhine Valley in Germany was an obvious place to look as it had been growing fine wines for export throughout Europe for generations. As a result we saw the migration of a large number of wine-makers, vine-dressers and coopers from the Rhineland in Germany to the vineyards of the Hunter Valley.

It was however William Kirschner who had a strong conviction in regard the value, and in his words, the need for German vine dressers in New South Wales. He was convinced that this must happen if the wine industry was to be successful. So strong was his conviction that, in 1850 he produced a book that promoted the concept of German migration to Australia.

In this book he heavily promoted the potential of the Hunter Valley. He claimed Maitland as the capital of the Hunter Valley. He also alleged that the region would become a centre for significant production of food products, saying that it produced the best wine in the country.

Kirschner saw Newcastle as becoming a major sea port of coal, wine and other primary and secondary products.

Unlike Beit, Kirschner actually lived in Sydney and had a strong rapport with the colonial government. He advised that the best vinedressers in Germany were to be found on the banks of the Rhine and its tributaries. He expressed concern that a difficulty would exist in getting only single men because the German peasant generally married while quite young.

In Kirschner’s opinion families would be ideal, because the women and children were already accustomed to working in the vineyard. He suggested that an offer of Fifteen Pounds a year, with the usual rations and a free passage, would induce many vinedressers to emigrate from Germany. He also believed that if they were brought out in groups of one hundred immigrants at a time, would be cheaper and thereby reduce greatly the cost of shipping.

Under Kirschner’s plan the contracts were drawn up with the potential employer in Sydney before he went to Germany and that contract was then binding on the employer. He also added in a fee for his own services as the agent.

He travelled to the Hunter Valley on several occasions and placed advertisements in the local newspapers to obtain orders for the importation of German immigrants. In December 1847 he held a meeting with winegrowers at the Northumberland Inn, Maitland and another at the Junction Inn in Raymond Terrace to obtain orders for workers.

He managed to entice some two hundred large and small land owners in all districts of New South Wales and Moreton Bay (Queensland) to sponsor German migrants. Each sponsor applied to the Immigration Agent to bring out between one and thirty two migrant workers.

In total he brought out more than eight hundred families between 1849 and 1856. Although many families did go to the Hunter Valley region there was a considerable number who went to Moreton Bay (Queensland) and other parts of New South Wales.

In all instances they were on a contract to work for the employer sponsoring them for a period of two years. The adult migrant had to be less than fifty years of age and married. It would appear from a close look at the life style and span of some migrants that they were over that age. One has to wonder if the birth certificates were checked before the passport was issued or did the agent accept the word of each intending migrant.

In some instances we find that the wife is up to fourteen years older than her husband. In some instances we find the marriage is only weeks old on the date of departure and we find a number of marriages that took place on board ship. Obviously the marriage was a convenience situation, yet they seemed to live a contented happy married life in the Hunter Valley.

Initially the parents were expected to pay for their children but in 1855 this was amended to allow for three children under the age of ten to be covered in the sponsorship.

It is interesting to note the information recorded against each individual on the passport:

Occupation:- Winzer (ie. Gatherer of harvest grapes):


:-Married man




:- Nearly 6Ft.


:- Blond, Cut short


:- Strong


:- Firm


:- Good


:- Pointed


:- Oval

Complexion :- Healthy

Physical Peculiarities :- None

Family :- Wife & four children

In 1848 Kirschner sailed to Germany to recruit the vineyard workers. He concentrated his efforts in the vine growing areas in south-west Germany. To be more specific he sought migrants from the Rheingau district of Hessen and areas adjacent to it northwards and across the Rhine around Frankfurt, Baden and Wurttemberg.

The first three ship-loads of German families arrived in Sydney under this government managed ‘Bounty Immigration Scheme” in 1849 on the Beulah, Parland and Harmony. There were 121 families (383 people) in this group. While a few stayed in the Sydney area the vast majority were destined for the vineyards of the Hunter Valley.

It is interesting to note the number of migrants some employers sponsored. Lindeman sponsored fifteen while Macarthur sponsored thirty four. When we see such names as W.C.Wentworth among the sponsors it becomes obvious that while the majority were vine dressers, coopers and wine makers some were also shepherds.

Other families allocated were:

Wiesbaden to J.S. Taylor of Lochinvar;

Friedrich Diehl of Oberradd, near Wiesbaden to Henry Carmichael of Porphyry Point, Seaham, on the Williams River;

Peter Norgardt of Eltville also to Henry Carmichael

The general practice and intent was to bring German migrants out to work in the wine industry, but not all the migrants had training or experience in this industry in their homeland. Some were day labourers and took any work they could get, which could have included vineyard work since they were nearly all recruited from vine growing areas. Of 20 assisted men from the town of Kiedrich in the Rheingau, there were only 4 stated to be vinedressers and 2 were coopers in the church books; the others comprised 1 gardener, 4 day labourers, 5 farm labourers, 1 bricklayer, 1 linen weaver, 1 clockmaker and 1 ladies’ tailor.

We find that thirty percent of the German migrants are listed as shepherds. Among the other seventy percent we find people listed as blacksmith, carpenter, locksmith, miner, quarryman, sawyer, engineer, shoe maker (indispensable on large properties with many workers), tailor, tanner, wheelwright, and wool sorter. It is interesting that in almost every instance the wife is also listed as having a profession. For example the wife of a shepherd is listed as a ‘hutkeeper’. Daughters were usually listed as servants, maids, cooks or some other domestic profession.

We know that the British government had determined that only people with skills not found in England could be brought out from the continent. It would appear that this rule was either ignored or the agent found a way around it. It does make sense that if he was bringing a large number of migrants from a particular state that he would include those professions and trades that would normally support these people at home.

It is interesting that one of the vinedressers, Jacob Kempenich, who came out on the ‘Cateaux Wattel’, in 1855 had also just served a six year term as mayor of the village. This suggests that he was not too badly off financially, but he also had five sons to consider.

Europe was in a state of internal revolution together with a minor depression in the late 1840s. This would have made the opportunity to escape to a new life in a new land very attractive to a man such as Kempenich.

Throughout history the German has been a migratory person. He migrated from his native tribal lands across Europe into the neighbouring and far distant states of the continent. A percentage migrated to the British Isles and in later years thousands migrated to America. In every instance the migrating German quickly adapted to the new situation and settled down to instil into the community the benefits of his skills in farming, industry and commerce. In the Hunter Valley this seems to be a repeat of history. I guess for them in Australia the freedoms to do their work in peace and to live as they wished in a quiet living industrious manner is demonstrated by the words of one German in a letter home:

"Here are no masters who climb up hay stacks with spy-glasses to see whether the workers take a breather".

Finally they began their journey to Australia. From their home in Hessen they sailed 363 kilometres to Rotterdam. Some were then transferred by ferry to London. Others were transferred by train or ferry the 400 kilometres to Hamburg. A few joined their ship in Rotterdam.

According to the diaries and letters of some, the Rhine journey was more like a pleasure cruise than a migrant ship with singing and parties for the whole three days of the journey.

At Rotterdam, Hamburg and London they were made comfortable and given opportunity to sight see and shop at will. This is a benefit and privilege that migrants from Germany to other states in Australia did not always enjoy.

Although the ships bringing migrants to the Hunter Valley docked in Sydney, it did not discharge its human cargo there. Those for the Hunter were brought on to Newcastle and were met there by their new employer.

When the ship docked the sponsor had to go to the wharf and claim his people. He had to present his copies of documentation and sign for the migrant family. He had to pay a bounty of six pound ten shillings ($13) for each person over the age of fourteen years. This was reclaimable from the migrant over the next two-year period. The government subsidised it to the extent of thirty six pounds for the man and his wife and eighteen pounds for each child over the age of fourteen years. Thus was paid top the employer.

A Hunter Valley vineyard in the 1800s
ne of the families to arrive on the ‘Peru’ in 1855 was the vinedresser Jacob Busch. Around 1880 Jacob and his family moved to Rosemount vineyard near Denman in the Upper Hunter and changed their Name to the English BUSH.

The grandchildren of this family were unaware until the 1990s of their German ancestry.

It seems that the German connection was deliberately withheld from the children due to the possibility of prejudice. Those that may have known did not communicate this to their peers. We must also remember that during World War 1 and to a lesser extent World War 2, there was mass hysteria in regard to Germans. This caused many German families to deny their heritage. The German ancestors also had a belief that they were now Australian and the past is past. Hence there may not have been the enthusiasm to talk about the ancestry as we found in other states.

One area of prejudice seems to lie within the church. The Busch family came from a Catholic area in Germany. There is some indication that Irish Catholics resented the non-English speaking Germans and tried to exclude them from their church. Unlike in Albury where the priest made an effort to learn the language and minister to his people in that manner, the Hunter Catholic priests left them to the good nature of their fellow Catholics. Thus some family members married outside their faith.

Unlike what happened in the Camden Valley these German immigrants stayed in the Hunter Valley and many well-known families in Maitland and district can be related back to the German migration. Their children often married into the Irish Catholic families. Sadly the German traditions of these families were within a generation lost forever as they became absorbed into the Irish, Scottish and English communities. The reason for this is not known but it can be presumed that first of all they were employed by English vineyard owners and secondly that they had no church community to hold them together. The majority were Catholic and this may be a reason. Due to the existing Irish population there were already Catholic Churches and Catholic communities, unlike in Queensland and South Australia where the majority were Lutheran and had to create their own community.

Twenty one German immigrant ships arrived in Sydney between 1849 and 1856.

In 1853 the Balthasar Dreis and his wife arrived on the "Helene". This was a German migrant ship bringing migrants from Rheingau to the Hunter Valley. The Dreis story represents the experience of most of their fellow migrants.

They came from the village of Lorch in the westernmost parts of the Rheingau in the German state of Hessen. Although a very picturesque region it was a very poor region. The principal industry since the Roman times was vine growing and the making of wines.

Balthasar Dreis was born in 1814 at Lorchhausen near Rheingau in Hessen. He married Barbara Appel in 1847. This was his third marriage. His first two wives had died. Balthasar was a Roman Catholic. He and his wife could very capably read and write. They had with them two children aged five and three.

They were sponsored to work for George Townshend at Trevallyn near Paterson in the Hunter Valley region

Those on the same ship to work for George Townshend were Johann and Sebastian Geiger, Johann Lees, Johann Schmitt and Anton Schuber.

Also on board the “Helene” were William Henry Stolz and his wife Eva Joanna. Note the Anglicised given names already in use within months of their arrival.

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