Thursday, 31 January 2013

German settlers at Harkaway

Many of Harkaway’s first European settlers were German Lutherans and in this post we look at some of these families. As we will discover many of these families were connected not only by their faith but by inter- marriage. Most of this information comes from Early Days of Berwick (henceforth referred to as Early Days)  and Early Settlers of the Casey Cardinia District. According to  Early Days the first of these settlers was Johann Gottlieb Scholz (1807-1884) and his wife Eleanor (nee Fellenberg 1807-1887). The couple and their eight children had arrived in South Australia in 1838, where their last child was born. They settled in Harkaway in 1844. The next year, John Martin Friedrich Fritzlaff came to the area, left to try his fortune on the gold fields and was apparently successful as he retuned, with his wife Johanna (nee Reiger 1825-1917) and purchased land with Wilhelm Wiese, a carpenter and builder, in 1855.  Fritzlaff established the first Post Office and store in Harkaway.

State Library of Victoria image Image H36420/11. Labelled 'The 1st house in Harkaway' 
Photographer E.J Frazer. 

Also around 1855 Gustav Koenig (1817-1887) arrived and ran a dairy farm. Koenig gave his name to Koenig Road, which was anglicised to King Road around the First World War, due to anti-German sentiment. His first wife, Charlotte (nee Weidenberg) died on the voyage out to Australia and his second wife Henrietta (nee Finger) died in 1863, aged 37, having given birth to nine children in the thirteen years of their marriage. Joseph Walsdorf (1803-1881) was another early settler. He and his wife Agnes Schmitt (1810-1889) lived ‘on the gully at the back of Harkaway’, according to Early Days. Their daughter, Christina married Henry Edebohl (1826-1904). He was a road contractor, bridge builder and a farmer and the source of the name Edebohls Road.

Henry Bruhn (1816-1908) brought 120 acres in Harkaway in 1856, which he farmed with his wife Caroline (nee Hubner 1833-1917) Also in the same year Carl Metzenthein (1815-1901)  bought land on the bank of the Cardinia Creek at Harkaway. Carl had seven children from his first wife, Auguste Schultz (or Scholts) and another four by his second wife Johannes Weniger. Reinhold (1846-1909) the son of the first marriage was a boot maker in Berwick and according to the story in Early Days, in 1869 evangelist, Mr A.J Hamill, called in to have his boot repaired as he was walking back to Prahran after preaching in Pakenham. Mr Hamill began to preach the gospel and at a later visit he baptised Reinhold and his wife Elisabeth (nee Meyer) in the Cardinia Creek and they congregation grew and became the Church of Christ.

State Library of Victoria Image H36420/9. Labelled 'Post Office Harkaway. 
Photographer E.J Frazer.

J.F Wilhelm Aurisch (1826-1911) was married to Caroline Tschirner (1835-1871) the daughter of Harkaway pioneers Gottfried and Rosina Tschirner who built the original farmhouse at Rowallan Farm in Harkaway.  Wilhelm’s brother Johann Gottlob Aurisch (1817-1898) also arrived  in 1854 and they each purchased part of the original 640 acres purchased by Dr Wanke in 1853 (more of the Wanke family later). Johann was married to Dorothea Scholz, the daughter of original settlers Johann and Eleanor Scholz. Another Aurisch brother, Carl (1818-1901) also came to Harkaway, with his wife Christine (nee Wolfe). They had four children.

John Jacob Meyer (1808-1882) arrived in Australia in 1852 with his second wife Sabine (nee Schwarz) who sadly died the next year. His son Benjamin, from his first marriage, had attended the Academy of Hofyl in Switzerland, an experimental school established by Gottlieb Fellenberg, the father of Eleanor Scholz. Benjamin was a builder who built many local houses and in 1868 married Auguste Metzenthin, the daughter of Carl and Auguste and the sister of Reinhold. Reinhold in the same year married Elisabeth Meyer, the half sister of Benjamin.

Ernst Gottlob Wanke (1823-1897) was a medical student who had nearly finished his degree when he came to Australia as a ships doctor. Like many others, he deserted from the ship in Melbourne and went to the gold fields, before buying land in Harkaway in 1853.He was known as Dr Wanke and according to Early Days, his medical knowledge was of great value to the Harkaway settlers. Dr Wanke also donated land for the Church and the school and served on the Cemetery Trust. Ernst Wanke Road is named after him. His first wife and child had died in Germany and he came out with his second wife, Pauline (nee Schurmann 1822-1904). They had one son, Immanuel (1856-1934) who married Bertha Aurisch, the daughter of Wilhelm and Caroline Aurisch.

State Library of Victoria Image H36420/13. Labelled 'Wanke's dairy farm, Harkaway'
Photographer E.J Frazer. 

Dr Wanke’s brother, Johann Gottlieb Wanke (1814-1889) also came to Harkaway.  He was married to Helena Muller and they had five children. Their daughter, Caroline married another local settler, Peter Erdmann (1827-1872) who arrived in 1853 and had land in A’Beckett Road in Narre Warren North and was one of the original trustees for the Harkaway Lutheran Church. Ida Erdmann, a daughter of Peter and Caroline, married Charles Weist (1859-1941) who had  a block of land near the Harkaway cemetery.

Halleur Road is named after Rudolf Halleur (1826-1912, or von Halleur as Early Days calls him.) He arrived in Australia in 1852, deserted his ship and went to the gold fields, then settled in Harkaway in 1858.  He married Johanna Scholz (1838-1932) another daughter of Johann and Eleanor. He was a sail maker by trade and turned this skill into making harnesses and boots. Rudolf and Johanna had nine children.

Johann Hillbrich (or Hillbrick, 1814-1899) purchased land in Hessel Road in 1855, where the family operated a dairy farm. This property was then passed onto son, Ernst (1842-1914) and then to his son Stanley, who farmed the land until 1959 when it was sold out of the family. It is now part of Timbarra Estate. Johann was married to Maria Wagner (1821-1888) and they had ten children.

Hessel Road was named for Jacob Hessel (1833-1904) the inaugural teacher at the Harkaway State School when the Harkaway Lutheran School was taken over by the Education Department in 1876. The Lutheran School had started in 1856 with Traugott Friedrich Warmbrunn (1803-1885) as the original teacher, though it is believed that Eleanor Scholtz taught local children before that. Warmbrunn was very active in the Lutheran community, but his teaching career was hampered by his lack of English, so he had to resign, however he remained in Harkaway. The next teacher was Carl Hubner, who took over in 1857. Once again, his poor English meant he had to resign, which he did in 1861. Jacob Hessel started at the school in 1862 and was there until 1883.

State Library of Victoria  Image H36420/10. Labelled 'State School Harkaway'. 
Photographer E.J Frazer. 

Other German Harkaway settlers included Gustav Warmbrunn (1836-1912), the son of the teacher, who lived near the School in the 1860s according to Early Days. He was married to Wilhelmina Scholz, another daughter of the original pioneers, Johann and Eleanor. Wilhelmina (1840-1928) gave birth to eleven children. Lotha Schmidt had a vine yard and winery in Harkaway. August  Dubberke (known as Martin, 1843-1926) settled in Victoria in 1864 and farmed at Harkaway. He was married to Augusta (c.1845-1913), daughter of Johann and Helena Wanke.  Carl Ernst August Fleer (1832-1904) was a baker and also had a small farm at Harkaway. He was married to Emma Metzenthin (1841-1927) another daughter of Carl and Auguste. Peter Rumph (1820-1895) and his wife Catherine (nee Chenmel 1831-1879) purchased their land in 1854. He was a builder and helped build the Berwick Inn. Another settler with a connection to the Berwick Inn is Wilhelm Braun (c. 1827-1919) also known as William Brown. He married Ellen Barry (c. 1836-1918) in 1855 and they had eight children.. He arrived in Berwick in 1854, worked on local farms and was also a builder and brick maker. His bricks were used in the newer parts of the Hotel, the two storey sections added in 1877 and 1887.


juliet57 said...

I found this read to be very informative and may of helped me discover why I have a couple of photos back in the 1884 in our collection of photos.
My grandmother is a cousin to the Aurisch families....
One who married a Wanke

Heather said...

Thank you, Juliet. It's always good to be able to make connections and clear up 'mystery' family photos. Best wishes, Heather.

Unknown said...

I found no mention of my family, the Brauns. My great great great grandfather, Wilhelm Braun built The Grattons. He also made the bricks for the Berwick Hotel and many other local buildings.

Heather said...

Thank you for your comment about Wilhelm Braun, I have added him to the list.