- Dr Graham Lieschke & 100 Different Bach Cantatas, 23 June 2013
- Pleasant Sunday Afternoon, Sunday 7 April 2013
- A.I.G.S. Bendigo Area Family History Expo
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Wendish Wagon Wanderings
May 02, 2012
The 1852 Rosenthal to Hochkirch Wagon Trek Revisited
The 160th anniversary of the 1852 pioneering overland Trek from Rosedale, formerly Rosenthal and Hoffnungsthal in South Australia to Portland, Hamilton, Gnadenthal and Hochkirch in Western Victoria was celebrated between 3-6 May 2012 by retracing in cars and over four days, the original route taken by the pioneers in 1852 in their covered, horse-drawn and bullock-drawn wagons over four weeks. After intense planning and research by the organisers, on Thursday 3 May 2012, participants met at the Rosedale church to begin the trek. The congregation welcomed them with refreshments and trekkers were supplied with a folder containing about 40 pages, which included the names of the participants on the Trek, historical background information, devotions and hymns, the itinerary with interesting traveller's notes, historical features, commemorations services and even some well-tested family recipes. This folder indicated that over 70 people had registered for the trip but more arrived who did not want to miss this tribute to the 1852 pioneering Albert, Burger, Deutscher, Huf, Hundrack, Mirtschin, Petschel and Rentsch families.
Preparations for the 1852 Trek
By 26 April 1852, the Rosenthal families Deutscher, Petschel and Albert, the Hoffnungsthal family Huf and the four families Burger, Hundrack, Mirtschin and Rentsch, who had arrived on the Helene in late 1851, were ready to start their pioneering Trek to Victoria, with Carl Huf assuming the role of tour guide. Before they left, they issued a successful call to Pastor Clamour Schurmann, then working amongst the Aborigines, to be their Pastor in their new settlement. Finally 51 people departed on this 1852 Trek in a caravan which consisted of eleven canvas-covered wagons, eight of which were horse-drawn and three bullock-drawn, as well as 52 head of cattle.
The Mirtschin family sailed by ship to Portland with flour and furniture. Stormy weather and heavy seas led to the loss of some of this cargo overboard but they arrived alive at Portland on 7 May, 1852.
The 2012 Trekkers met at the site of the first church and cemetery situated on some of the Petschel land and recalled with thanks the hard work of the pioneers and their planned 1852 "Journey to Greener Pastures". Appropriately Psalm 23, "The Lord is my Shepherd", was read.
The 1852 overland Trek soon reached Lyndoch, which in 1851 had a small inn called the Lord Lyndoch. Today's trekkers visited the Lyndoch Bakery, which provided kuchen and coffee.
Hufs farewell Hoffnungsthal
The booklet titled Hoffnungthal 1847-1867 and made available by researcher Anne Hausler, indicates that the land here was leased in June 1847 for 14 years and that a chapel appears in the September 1848 records of the South Australian Company. Its walls were red gum posts, its roof was thatched straw, it was 60 feet long and 30 feet wide and it had rooms and living quarters on the west end. Women sat on the south side of the church and the congregation was served by Pastor H A E Meyer.
Of later interest is that the local Peramangk Aborigines apparently warned the settlers about "big water" but the settlers ignored these warnings about flooding. In September 1853, after 36 hours of rain, some settlers found their homes under eight feet of water. The church located on higher ground survived this flooding and a plaque now lists the pioneering settlers. Another point of interest is that the name was changed to "Karrawirra" in 1918 but was restored to Hoffnungsthal in 1975.
A Gum-tree Home
A new church was opened in 1899 in Springton and Friedensberg became the school from 1913 until it was closed by the Government in 1916. The Teacher was Edwin Duldig who had Wendish ancestry and his wife was Frieda Georg, daughter of Pastor Dietrich Georg from Eudunda and sister of Pastor Joe Georg of Rosedale. This school became a derelict building but it was carefully restored and was opened in 1995 as an "Early German School Museum", displaying students' work from 1877 to 1915. Its 150th Anniversary was celebrated on 6 November 2011 and the Archivist from the Lutheran Archives presented background information relating to this historic church and school.
A Feast fit for Royalty
The meal was followed by a several visual presentations, including the Wends of Lusatia: their racial identity, their location, their history and their culture, customs and religion. It was pointed out that they are part of the Slavic race originally from an area north-west of the Black Sea, that they settled in Lusatia, south-east of Berlin in about 500 C.E and that they have been able to maintain their Slavic language, their occupations, costumes, customs and religion since then. Another presentation of interest was the slide show focusing on the people involved in the original trek of 1852 and in the previous scouting party of 1851.
Wellington was the 1852 Trekkers; location for the crossing of the River Murray. There was competition for punt use, because gold had been discovered by Thomas Peters on 20 July 1851 at Forest Creek in the area of present Castlemaine. Alexander Tolmer, the Commissioner of Police in South Australia, organised a gold escort, the first of which left Adelaide on 10 February 1852, to collect and bring back gold to Adelaide. Eighteen such escorts were organised and all were successful. A visit to the Courthouse Museum helped to bring these early days to life and to ponder the river crossing on the punt before there were engines by using only human muscle power.
The Indigenous Inhabitants
In this indigenous context, the present-day Trekkers were encouraged to visit the Raukkan Church in the Aboriginal Community. This was formerly the Point McLeay Mission, which was founded back in 1859 by the Aborigines' Friends Association. A famous person from this mission is David Unaipon, a scientist, and inventor whose portrait, along with the Raukkan Church, is on $50 notes. Also mentioned was the Coorong Cultural Museum depicting aspects of life of the Ngarrindjeri people, including basket weaving.
The Loop Road south of Salt Creek provided an excellent experience of the uncleared and bushy Australian Countryside still in a condition similar to what it was in the 1850s. Short hikes into the dense scrub, inspections of the mounds of mallee hens and the sounds of singing birds, now lost in our concrete cities, are available here and are most rewarding, as I soon discovered. The evidence of the cutting of rock and the building of wells by the Chinese immigrants was also interesting. The meal of fish on the beach at Kingston helped to recall the way of life of the Aboriginal Australians and it completed another busy day.
The 1852 Trek moved inland after Kingston and passed near the Tantanoola Cave, with its impressive "wedding cake" formation. The 1851 exploratory party had visited Glencoe Station, which was settled in 1844 by Robert Rowland Leake and John McIntyre and leased by Robert and his brother Edward. It was named after a home-town of McIntyre in Scotland. Robert Leake was a pioneer stud master of pure Saxony sheep. He had brought over 7,000 such sheep to his station, where he used the local Tarqua Lagoon as his sheep wash. Dingoes caused a lot of damage by chasing and killing rams. The scouts stopped near the Glencoe woolshed but were not made welcome. Today, the large woolshed is being managed by the National Trust and its historic role is well illustrated on display posters. The 2012 trekkers also enjoyed an impromptu sing-a-long of shearing songs here, led by guitarists Peter Neilson and Ian McMahon.
A Very Blue Lake
There were various brands of Lutheran churches in Mt Gambier, including the Evangelical Congregation of Boandik Terrace, founded in 1859 and St Martin's in Edward Street, founded in 1860. Some of the pioneer members were J.C. and F.C. Ruwoldt, C.T and J.G. Lindner, W. Wehl, R and H Sassanowsky, J. Lange, J. Vorwerk, C.F. Sturm and others. Two of the Wendish Hundrack sisters married the two Lindner brothers and lived in Mt Gambier. St Martin's will celebrate its 150th year on 13-14 October 2012. Pastor Kappler, who arrived in Australia on the ship Victoria in 1848 from Weissenberg in Saxony, kept in contact with many Wends in South Australia and Victoria and he kept excellent records about them. He moved to Mount Gambier as the Pastor in the early 1860s.
Portland and Hochkirch on the Grange
Andreas Albert carted wood and took vegetables to the gold-fields, while some of the Burgers assisted a local surveyor at Heywood. The Deutscher and Burger families rented buildings at Mt Clay.
The "German Paddock" north of Heywood was also featured as having connections with the early settlers and a church service led by Pastor Ed Koch helped to recall this episode.
Hamilton provided the location for the climax to this trek, in which a covered wagon drawn by five horses and participants in costumes from the 1800s, led a procession of cars with their Wendish Flags flying, from the swimming pool in Central Hamilton along Gray Street and Ballarat Road to the South Hamilton Cemetery. This was also the location of the earliest church building. The ceremony here was led by Colin Huf and the addresses, readings, hymns and items by the Tabor Male Choir expressed the deep gratitude of the present generation for being the recipients of a very rich pioneering heritage. This was movingly expressed by the laying of commemoration wreaths by descendants onto the graves of their visionary and determined ancestors who were in search of their new home, community and life-style.
The viewing of the exhibits at the Pastoral Museum, the inspection of Wendish visual displays of scenery and customs in Lusatia and the partaking of scrumptuous barbecued meat and salads in a cleared Pavilion at the Museum concluded a most memorable modern, interstate Trek.
Various later Treks eastward across the border from sunny South Australia to a cooler Victoria also took place after more land became available. In 1855, eighteen more families moved with their wagons across the border and into this Hochkirch/Bukecy/Tarrington district. They were followed by many families in the 1860s and 1870s, who moved into and settled in the Wimmera District and later in the Mallee country. All of these Treks will be recalled and remembered at a Celebratory Luncheon planned for October 2012 as an extension of the commemoration of the 1852 Wagon Trek.
Contribution to the Development of Australia
John Noack, President, Wendish Heritage Society Australia Inc, May 2012.
The following information, which was released prior to the Trek Revisit, has been kept on the website for archival purposes.
November 19, 2013
January 01, 2012