Celebrating our South Australian Pioneering Spirit

John McDouall Stuart (Wikipedia)

John McDouall Stuart (Wikipedia)

On this very day, 150 years ago, my 26 year old Great Great Grandmother, Susan (Kelleher) Nicholls was plying her Needlework talents to feed her 3 daughters, Catherine Ann, Mary Anne and Margaret. Widowed for 2years, Susan had recently purchased a nearby block of land at Armagh, close to Clare in the mid-north of South Australia, and I do wonder if she had any inkling that 12months later she would marry my Great Great Grandfather, Timothy Rowen.

What seems most likely however is that, living so far out in the country, Susan would not yet have known about the excitement, celebration and jubilation that was playing out on the streets of Adelaide as she went about her daily work.

The South Australian Advertiser reports:

“WEDNESDAY, January 21, 1863, will be one of the most memorable days of South Australia. On that day the explorer, John McDouall Stuart, accompanied by his gallant band of fellow travellers, made his formal entry into the City of Adelaide, after having crossed the continent from the southern to the northern shore (and return). Stuart had arrived in town some time previously, with one or two of his companions – but the formal entry of the whole party – as such – was arranged to take place on Wednesday, and the citizens determined to give them a true South Australian welcome home.

It is not, however, merely the fact that Stuart has crossed from shore to shore, which entitles him to be placed amongst the heroes of discovery; – of still greater significance is the fact that he wrested from the interior its long hidden secret. What was the map of Australia in our school days? What was it ten years ago? It was a vast blank, having no line traced upon it, no mark by which an opinion might be formed of the nature of the vast interior.”

 

John Mc Douall Stuart-map

This was an amazing feat and of HUGE benefit not just to South Australia, but to the whole of Australia and even further afield.

Flinders Ranges Research. logo.

The “Flinders Ranges Research” website tells us that:

“As a result of this journey, the opening up of the Northern Territory was made possible, and a route discovered for an Overland Telegraph Line linking South Australia with England and the rest of the world in 1872.

In 1863 Britain added the whole of the Northern Territory to South Australia, a decision greeted with great enthusiasm by most South Australians. George Fife Angas though believed the new area to be too big a responsibility for South Australia.”

It grieves me that this intrepid (Scottish born) South Australian explorer goes largely un-recognised not just in Australia but also South Australia. In my schooldays, during the 1950’s, we were still so attached to the British Empire/ Commonwealth that our History lessons were all about the Kings and Queens, of England, and I seem to remember something about some battles in a far off land somewhere.

John McDouall Stuart arrived in the fledgling Colony of South Australia in 1839, just 3 years after European settlement/ colonisation. My Susan arrived just 16 years later and I’m fascinated that they shared the same space in time as well as geographically.

This is a story I’m not going to be able to let go… how was my Susan’s life playing out as our intrepid explorer’s life was also unfolding?… be prepared for some follow up posts folks as the research continues 🙂

RESOURCES and FURTHER INFORMATION: 
http://www.southaustralianhistory.com.au/stuart.htm
http://gutenberg.net.au/pages/stuart.html

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Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

Trapped…

It was a typical hot summer January day as my brothers, and I, splashed around and cooled off in the Swimming Pool adjacent to the Kiosk at the “Gorge Caravan Park”.  We’d been exploring the bush for days, having fun on the “swinging bridge”, paddling in the creek and then back to the caravan for a good old “nosh up”. It was an idyllic holiday and there was no sign of the approaching danger, and terror, which would remain indelibly imprinted on my 8 year old brain forever.

Gorge Caravan Park and Kiosk. Google Earth.

Gorge Caravan Park and Kiosk. Google Earth.

The first sign that anything was amiss was when mum and dad came over to check on us and to enquire, at the Kiosk, as to why so many people were packing up and leaving. Never will I forget the look of horror on my mum’s face when they found the Kiosk locked and abandoned. Hurrying back to the caravan and turning on the portable radio the terrible reality dawned. Unbeknowns to my parents a bushfire warning had gone out, our camping ground was now surrounded by raging fires, and it was too dangerous to try and flee the flames.

Although they must have been terrified my parents calmly sat the four of us down, explained the situation and advised that we needed to “stay put” until the fire had been extinguished and it was safe to go home… however, we were told to keep close together and if dad gave the signal we were to run down to the adjacent creek and immerse ourselves in the water until he said it was safe to come out. Although nearly “scared out of my wits” my dad made me feel as safe as anyone could be, under the circumstances.

bushfire

It was so hot, and stuffy, in the caravan that night as we tried to sleep with the smell of smoke in our nostrils and the glow of the surrounding fire lighting up the night sky. Eventually I dozed off and was awakened by a weird noise and felt a HUGE bump and the caravan began shaking until I was sure it would fall over. Dad leapt out of bed and out of the door “as quick as Jack Flash”. It turned out to be just a poor old terrified cow who’d stumbled against the van and was causing a lot of “ruckus”.

The next I remember is that it’s morning and mum and dad saying the fires were out and it was safe to go home. I later learnt that the bushfire had been contained only because of a fortunate change of weather and the work of some 2.500 volunteers who’d responded to the desperate call for help. As we drove that 30kms back to the safety of the Adelaide CBD, I will never forget the blackened bushland and the devastated countryside we passed through. Sight, and smells, I never want to experience again.

Bushfires_aftermath,_Big_River_near_Anglers_Rest.Wikipedia

On the South Australian Professional Historians website, Alison Painter has written:

“The 2 January 1955 is known in South Australia as ‘Black Sunday’. Terrible bushfires swept through the Adelaide Hills, blackening 600 square miles of coluntry from One Tree Hill in the north to Strathalbyn in the south. Forty homes were lost as well as many other buildings including the Upper Sturt railway station and Marble Hill, the Governor’s summer residence on Norton Summit.

On that hot weekend the Governor, Sir Robert George, and his family went to stay at Marble Hill. By Sunday afternoon the smoke and heat showed that the fire was very near and in spite of the efforts of the staff with garden hoses the building suddenly caught alight. The family and staff narrowly escaped by throwing wet blankets over themselves. They huddled near a bank as the elegant old home burnt fiercely and the tower collapsed at the height of the blaze. Since then the impressive ruins have been partly restored by the National Trust but the Governors have never returned.

There was great loss of property and stock in the fires in the hills and in the south east, but only one man died, at Inglewood. Until the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983 this was the worst bushfire in the State’s history.

Advertiser, 3, 4, 5 January 1955. “

Black Sunday.1955.Marble_Hill_Ruin.Wikipedia

The South Australian CFS (Country Fire Service) reports that:

“Two fire fighters lost their lives and damage, spread over a total area of at least 40,000 hectares, was estimated at $4,000,000.”

The Australian Bureau of Metereology explains:

“The nature of the Australian environment – long periods of dry, hot weather and volatile natural vegetation – makes many parts of the country particularly vulnerable to fire. Southeastern Australia has the reputation of being one of the three most fire-prone areas in the world, along with southern California and southern France. The Black Friday fires in 1939 in Victoria, Ash Wednesday (1983) in Victoria and South Australia and the 1967 fires in Tasmania, have each killed in excess of 60 Australians. They loom as dark shadows in the consciousness of residents of these states on summer days when strong northerlies, extreme heat and low humidity follow a long dry period. Throughout the 20th Century, many other fires have claimed lives, destroyed people’s homes and livelihoods, and reduced thousands of hectares of forest to charcoal and ash.”

bushfire seasons

Once again the “bushfire season” is upon us as the temperatures soar into the 40’s and are set to remain there for some time. May all who live in bushfire prone areas and  those fire fighters, and volunteers, who risk their lives for others keep themselves safe and well.

To those who’ve lost loved ones, property and livelihoods in previous bushfires… may you be blessed and comforted as the memories return along with the scorching heat. My childhood terrors, of 58 years ago,  are nothing in comparison.

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RESOURCES (including photos) and FURTHER READING:

http://www.cfs.sa.gov.au/site/bushfire_history.jsp

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/nosh-up

http://www.sahistorians.org.au/175/chronology/january/2-january-1955-black-sunday.shtml

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sunday_(1955)

http://www.postcards-sa.com.au/features/marble_hill.htm

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/environ/fires.shtml  

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Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel.

Tt is for – Time Line, Time Walk and Tony Robinson

Can’t begin to say how happy I was to read that Tony Robinson is doing a TV Time Line/ Time Walk in Adelaide, South Australia. Whooo Hooo!!! Gives me the opportunity to share, on the Gould “Family History Through the Alphabet” challenge, that not all of Australia was a convict settlement and broaden people’s thinking about why Australian’s are often seen as anti-authoritarian”. Come walk with me, eh???

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Wikipedia describes how South Australia had a different mode of “Colonisation” to the rest of Australia. The South Australian Colonisation Act stated that “802,511 square kilometres would be allotted to the colony and it was to be “convict free”. Instead of granting free land to settlers, the land would be sold and the money raised would be used to transport settlers/ labourers free of charge.

“Dissenters” from the established “Church of England” were amongst the  first South Australian colonists and encouraged, and funded, others seeking relief/escape, from religious persecution to emigrate to this “Utopia in the South.”  Both Protestant non-conformists and Catholics were subjected to active discrimination in England from the 16th Century. Many Germans/ Prussians were also  drawn to South Australia, seeking religious freedom. The ” Bound for South Australia” website tells that these “dissenters” constituted a much higher population than those in other Australian colonies.  

Those who claim all Australians tend to be “Anti-authoritatian” because of their convict roots have missed this crucial part of the picture. i.e. The settlement/ European colonisation of South Australia and the settler’s determination to separate Church and State. 

So, back to Tony Robinson and his “Time Walk”  TV programme. Goodonya Tony and thanks to the South Australian Advertiser, for the info.

Given that South Australia was “settled by dissenters” it does not surprise me, at all, that South Australia led the nation with:

* Votes for women, including the right to stand for Parliament, and the first woman, Mrs Benny, to enter local Govt in Australia (1919).

* Dame Roma Mitchell, the first Australian woman  to be: a Judge, a Queen’s Counsel, a Chancellor of an Australian University, Governor of an Australian State.

* First crematorium in the South Hemisphere, built at the West Terrace Cemetery, South Australia in 1902. 

* The first Act, in Australia, prohibiting discrimination – “The 1966 Prohibition of Discrimination Act”, which started the ball rolling here in Australia.

* The first Australian publication by an Aboriginal author, David Unaipon born 28 Sep 1872 at the Port McLeay Mission, South Australia. He is commemorated on our Australian $50 note.

… and so many other “firsts” eg. The first metal mine in Oz (1841), the first Croquet Club, the first major long-distance telephone call etc … but most important of all, in my opinion, is that South Australia has so often led the way with legislation to address discrimination …

Bit of a pain that I don’t have Cable TV so won’t get to see the programme, but no worries. Happy that Tony Robinson will awaken some people’s interest in our unique South Australian history and honour our pioneering “dissenters”.  

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 Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel   

Ll is for – Life on the Laura Blocks

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge

“Be damned the rain… be damned my bad back… I have to know!” muttered mum as she tottered up the long steep driveway. It was the winter of 1986 and we’d driven 240 miles from Adelaide, the Capital of South Australia, to the small mid-north town of Laura in search of my Nana’s childhood home on the “Laura Blocks”. Mum last saw “the cottage” 40 years before, had a picture of it in her mind, knew it was being used to store hay but we couldn’t find it. This “Gould Family History Through the Alphabet” post is dedicated to the courage and perseverance of my Murrays, and the other 12 families of the “Laura Blocks”, who pushed on through the frontier, battling to eke a living from an inhospitable land, whilst facing the wrath of the original inhabitants, the Ngadjuri and Nukunu peoples, whose own lifestyle and livelihoods were being destroyed by the new settlers.

The land in the mid north of South Australia was settled by Europeans in the early 1840’s, some 4 years after the first landing at Glenelg in 1836. In 1843 the brothers Bristow Herbert Hughes and Herbert Bristow Hughes open up the county along the Rocky River. The town of Laura was founded on their “Booyoolie Station” land in 1872, as a staging post on the Main North Road from Adelaide, and named after Herbert Hughes’ wife, Laura White, who migrated with her family from Dorset, England, in 1843.

“Until 1894, the area that is now the Laura Blocks, was a property of 52 hectares (130 acres) situated 5 Kms (3miles) north of Laura. The Rocky River and a tributary creek ran through it and there was a three roomed stone house in the centre of the farm. The land was purchased by the Crown (Government) and surveyed into 13 Homestead Blocks with each block having access to the then permanent water supply of the Rocky River. Working Men’s leases were granted on the 1st April 1895 and thirteen ‘pioneer’ families began new chapters in their lives.”  (1)

Laura Block 22 marked with *

My Great Grandfather 18 year old Peter Murray, born in County Cork, Ireland, arrived in South Australia aboard the “Berar” in 1883. Three years later, on 3 Jan 1886, he married Eliza Jane Rowan at St Peters Church, Gladstone. 

Eliza Jane is the 5th child of “my Susan”, Susan (Kelleher) Nicholls from Country Clare, Ireland, and her second husband Timothy Rowen who also migrated from County Clare but not alone. Timothy came with his two brothers and a sister-in-law.  Eliza Jane was born in Armagh, just outside of Clare, South Australia, and moved to Laura with her mother and siblings after a family scandal and court case, in 1875.

The early years of Peter and Eliza Jane’s marriage were spent in Broken Hill, New South Wales, where the discovery of silver offered them a number of opportunities. Peter worked in the mines whilst Eliza Jane ran one of the first boarding establishments, under canvas, to cater for the huge influx of miners. Intitially Eliza Jane and Peter lived in a tent and provided accommodation, for two others, in another small tent. Shift worked enabled these sleeping quarters to be shared and, before long, Eliza Jane purchased a marquee from Flavels in Rundle Street, Adelaide, and expanded into a very successful business. A fire led to the move into a rented weather-board cottage and the business continued to flourish.

These successes were marred by great sadness with the death of their first two children, Peter Murray and Walter Murray, which you can read about here. On 19 Sep 1892, 20 months after the death of Walter my Nana, Mary Elizabeth Murray, was also born at Broken Hill. The high infant mortality rate there, at this time, may have led to their decision to leave “the Hill”. In 1888 there were 358 deaths per 1000 and over a quarter of these were under 1 year old.

The most prevalent causes of death were Typhoid or Enteric Fever (Barrier Fever) followed closely by pneumonia and other lung complaints. (2)

Eliza Jane and Peter returned to Stone Hut, South Australia, a small town north of Laura where their fourth child Daphne Murray was born on 30 Dec 1893. Sadly Daphne lived only 3 days and is buried in the Laura Cemetery, Catholic Section, Grave 0833.

Beatrice May Murray, their fifth child, was born at Stone Hut on 12 Mar 1895 and just a few weeks later, on 1 Apr 1895, Peter took up the lease on Section 22 of the Laura Blocks. 

As the first European occupiers Peter and Eliza Jane built their home using local materials and, in particular, rocks brought up from the Rocky River which ran nearby. Family members described it as a typical, and very small, Irish cottage with a thatched roof which was later found, by the Gill family, when the galvanised iron was removed. It had a window on each side of the door and a chimney, jutting out to one side, with the inside hearth flush with the wall. Initially Eliza Jane cooked on a grate with hobs on either side and a hook from which to hang the boiler. The luxury of a wood stove came much later.

Six more children were born to the family during difficult times:

Andrew Patrick Murray (1879 – 1972)
Walter Henry (Harry) Murray (1901 – 1968)
Hilda Jane Murray (1903 – 1972)
Margaret Helen Murray (1905 – 1973)
Victor Alic Murray (1907 – 1982)
Dorothy Grace Murray (1909 – ? )

My Grandmother (Elizabeth Mary Murray) passed onto her daughter, who passed onto me, her experiences from the age of 8 growing up on the Laura Blocks. She told of the harshness of life on a land which was rocky, barren and infertile. Without the benefits of the fertilizers and soil improvers, which came later, it was an ongoing battle to eke out even a modest living from the barren soil. Eliza Jane, and the children, worked the land whilst Peter worked away for extended periods of time.

Eliza Jane grew onions as a cash crop. The water was bucketed from the creek. She kept geese, ducks and chooks and sold the eggs at the hotel. During the day the geese, ducks and chooks had the run of the farmyard and it was the responsibility of the children to ensure they were locked away, from the foxes, at night.

My grandmother told how eventually her mum saved enough money to buy a cow to provide milk for the children, although she never drank milk or consumed dairy products herself. The story is that, having worked as a dairymaid before marriage, the though of milk repulsed her but she was determined to provide this nourishment for her children so they would have “strong bones”. Each morning, before school, it was the children’s responsibility to take the cow across the swing footbridge to the other side of the river to graze and to return it before nightfall. One night the cow was forgotten and it met with an unfortunate “accident” in the creek, breaking it’s neck. My nana talked about her fear and trepidation, as a small child, in bringing the cow back across that swinging bridge.

Peter’s wages, and the money earned from the block’s produce, was often not sufficient to live on and make the lease payments so Eliza Jane found other ways to earn money. For many years she further supplemented the family income by walking into Laura weekly, with a baby on her hip and a toddler “at the skirts”, to do the washing for the local hotel and to sell her eggs. The legacy she carried, for the remainder of her life, was a displacement of the hips. It was heavy work. In addition to the clothing of the hotelier’s family, Eliza Jane also washed heavy items such as the bed linen, tablecloths and towels used by the hotel patrons. This was done in a galvanised iron tub with a washing board. The “whites” were boiled in a copper and the heavy linen was put through a mangle before being hung to dry. Peter Murray visited the hotel regularly to collect his wife’s pay… he and the Hotelier had “an arrangement”. 

Fettlers, like Peter Murray, laboured on building and repairing the Railroad and coming home to supervise the family’s work on “the pumper”.  Vit Tobin, late of Laura, married a child of the “Laura Blocks” and remembered the Murray family well. It was a delight to spend time with her and hearing her confirm the family stories. She described the gang of Railroad workers, stationed at Stone Hut,  and the women working the blocks to pay the Government Lease with the hope of eventualy owning the land… and yes, the Railroad workers did travel the track on “the pumper” both to supervise work on the block and to collect their pay from the “Pay car” pulled into the Laura station for this purpose. I was told that “the pumper” was also used, by the children, to bring “the father” home when he was “too taken with the drink.”      

They had no electricity, in their little cottage, and Eliza Jane made candles by rendering down fat purchased from the butcher. They also had “slush lamps” which was a lump of fat, with a piece of cotton flux which would melt the fat and provide a little light. They were very smoky and smelly and candles were much preferred.  Family talk included the whitewashing of the cottage, inside and out, every Christmas so that it sparkled. This was the task of the two older boys, Andrew and Harry. It was remembered, with delight, how when Andrew was old enough to go working as a labourer, for a little cash, he would sometimes come home with the luxury of a bought candle for his beloved mother.

Andrew also planted a Mulberry bush, for his mother to hang her washing from, and a fig tree because she so loved fig and almond jam. Hanging washing to dry on hedges was an Irish tradition, for the working class, and a practice continued in rural areas, in Australia, right into the middle of the 20th Century. A strongly held to belief was that the washing must be brought in by nightfall. If, however, it was inadventently left out then it must remain until morning so as not to disturb “the faeries” who may be sheltering there.

Life on the Block was not an easy one for the Murray family. With their father working away, for extended periods of time, the children worked hard alongside their mother to meet the lease payments and ensure their family home could be kept. A closeness was forged, between the children and their mother, with a sense of protectivess growing as they shared the grim reality of a harsh life. The stories and memories have been passed onto following generations as a celebration of the courage and fortitude of these early settlers… our Ancestors.

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My mum displayed these same qualities all her life and were certainly apparent back in 1986 when, despite ill health and bad weather, she determinedly pushed on and finally her belief was confirmed. Yes, she had the correct property!!! The reason she couldn’t find her mum’s childhood home was because time, and the elements, had reduced it to a slab and a few scattered rocks in a barren field.

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PRINTED RESOURCES:
(1) Rhonda Pech, Box 89, Laura, South Australia, 5480. Original research.
(2) Kennedy, Brian, SILVER, SIN, AND SIXPENNY ALE: A Social History of Broken Hill, 1883-1921. Melbourne, University Press, 1978. ISBN 0 522 84141 4.

FURTHER INTERNET RESOURCES:
Northern Areas Council: http://www.nacouncil.sa.gov.au/page.aspx?u=191
Australia for Everyone: http://www.australiaforeveryone.com.au/places_laura.htm
Map: http://www.planbooktravel.com.au/australia/sa/laura
Laura Cemetery and photo, as shown above: http://austcemindex.com/cemetery.php?id=624

Rocky River Historic & Art Society Inc. PO Box 18, Laura, South Australia, 5480

Copyright © 2012. Catherine A Crout-Habel. “Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family”

Pioneer Women’s Trail – walk back in time

Our South Australian German/Prussian immigrants are a crucial part of the successful settlement of this State. The first wave arrived, as religious refugees, with Pastor August Ludwig Christian Kavel in Nov 1838.  They travelled on two ships, the “Prince George and the “Bengalee just two years after the first settlers arrived on these shores.

Kavel’s people rented 150 acres of land, for seven years at 5/- an acre three miles up river, from South Australian Company” director George Fife Angas, who had sponsored their assisted passage to the new colony. They named it “Klemzig” after their village in Germany.  It is said that the aboriginal people called it “Warkowodli Wodli”.

Most of the English settler were builders, engineers and land speculators not farmers, and relied on their food being brought by ship from New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania).  This became increasingly unbearable when,

“Even their bread tasted of seawater and pitch from
the barrels in which the flour was shipped.” [1]

The new arrivals set to work building and farming and within a month were selling radishes, the first freshly grown food in South Australia, at a shilling a bunch.  They were well rewarded for their hard work – a cucumber was also worth a shilling, and 7 equalled a worker’s daily wage.  These hard working peple certainly needed the money as Angas had to be repaid for their ship passage and also for the lease of the land.  A young man often acquired the “ship debt” of his new bride upon marriage.

Captain Dirk Meinhertz Hahn

The ship, the “Zebra”, arrived the following month with another 187 Lutheran migrants on board.  It was captained by Dirk Meinhertz Hahn and, after a brief stay in Klemzig, 38 families left and settled on 150 acres in the Adelaide Hills, purchased from William Dutton & partners for $14 per acre.  They named their township Hahndorf” and they too had a huge debt to repay.  The Hahndorf Pioneers soon set about clearing the land, planting crops, breaking in the cattle and milking the cows. They built their first houses with any avaliable materials to quickly provide protection from the very different climatic conditions in their new country.

“Their first winter in the Adelaide Hills was far from what they had expected. Food was often lacking and many went without at times.
Some even died of hunger. Eventually the new migrants managed
to produce a surplus of farm products which were sold in Adelaide
by their women. They walked all the way through the hills to town
in the hope of selling them to pay pay off their husbands’ or
fathers’ loans or to buy more land.” [2]

These pioneering women followed the 36km “Paramuk Aboriginal trail” [3] in the dark, arriving at Beaumont at dawn, where they’d freshen up in the creek before walking the final 5 kms into the Adelaide markets.  Often they carried bricks back 36 kms to Hahndorf for the building of more substantial homes.

The “South Australian Road Runners and Walkers Club”, along with the “Burnside” and the “Hahndorf” branches of the South Australian National Trust” have organised a run/walk for Sunday, 13 May 2012, aong this “Pioneer Women’s Trail” as part of the About Time: South Australian History Festival”. [4]

Commencing at the Hahndorf Institute” in Main Street, Hahndorf, the route follows the main road out of Hahndorf, crossing the Onkaparinga River before joining the official trail at Verdun.  This historic trail winds its way through the back streets of Bridgewater and Stirling, traverses the beautiful bush trails of Mr George Conservation Park and Cleland Conservation Park before finally opening out onto stunning city views and the descent to Burnside.  Following the run, a BBQ will be open to the public all day at historic “Beaumont House” to bring the event to a celebratory conclusion. Participants requiring further information, just click here.

Historic Hahndorf
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Johann Caeser

Our German/Prussian immigrants are not only an important part of South Australian History but aso my own Family History. Wilhelm Emil Habel, my husband’s Grandfather of “Habel’s Bend”, is the eldest child of Johann Friedrich August and Johanne Henriette Siefert. They travelled from Brandenburg, Prussia aboard the “Johann Caeser” with family and some 260 other German/Prussian immigrants, arriving at Port Adelaide on a hot summer’s day, 1 Jan 1855 and settling in Dutton, South Australia where Wilhelm was born.

“Skyjold”

Wilhelm Emil Habel married his second wife, Maria Mathilde Grosser, on 19 Jul 1890 at Dutton.  Her father, Hermann Eduard Louis Grosser, arrived with his parents and 5 siblings aboard the “Skyjold” on 3 Jul 1841.  They were amongst the congregation of Pastor Gotthard Daniel Fritzschke whom Pastor Kavel had encouraged to emigrate.  Whilst his congregation was committed to making a new life in a new land, their Pastor was initially undecided.  Fritzschke’s people settled at Bethany, in the Barossa Valley, and experienced many of the same difficulties as the Hahndorf settlers.  They too owed a “ship debt” and land lease payments to their sponsor, George Fife Angas.

Maria, Wilhelm’s second wife, bore him 9 children bringing the total number of children he fathered to 16.  Eight of their children survived childhood and little Elisabeth Clara, is buried near the “Habel Homestead” at Loxton, South Australia. You can read about Elisabeth by clicking here

Wilhelm, like many descendants of the German/Prussian Pioneers prospered and he displayed the fruits of his labour in a lavish celebration for the Wedding of Lina Martha Habel, his third daughter with first wife Marie (Martha) Emilie Fielke. Click here to read about this extravagance.

We, the descendants of these courageous pioneers, owe our Ancestors a huge debt of gratitude which is described movingly in the poem posted here on the first day of this blog, Australia Day 2012.

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SOURCES:
[1] “God’s Lost Acre” by William Reschke, Sunday Mail, 9 Mar 1975, p. 11.
[2] Flinders Ranges Research – Hahndorf
[3] “On the trail of settler history” by Sam Kelton, The Advertiser, 10 May 2012, p 15.
[4] South Australian Road Runners and Walkers Club 

Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family