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KAISER, Andreas

Andreas Kaiser (1827-1912), a Wend from Drehsa, nine kilometres east of Bautzen, arrived in Melbourne aboard the Pribislaw in February 1850. A former schoolmate and close friend of fellow Pribislaw passenger Michael Zwar, Kaiser cared for Michael and several others when they were seasick during the voyage.

Hoehne wrote that Kaiser was employed for a year asa servant for an English clergyman 160 miles from Melbourne, before returning to Melbourne to work as a day labourer. In September 1851 Kaiser, along with Michael Zwar and 27 other Germans at Geelong, signed a letter addressed to the Argus in defence of William Westgarth’s previous efforts to promote German immigration to Victoria.

Michael Zwar recalled he and Andreas Kaiser had worked together for two months prior to the goldrushes, when they teamed up again to go mining, at which they were initially successful according to Hoehne, who met Kaiser at the Mt Alexander goldfields in April 1852. Soon after Kaiser moved to Bendigo. In October 1853, Kaiser himself wrote that he had been “in the goldmines for two years, but they aren’t as productive as they used to be.” At that time he owned 2½ acres at Hawthorn near Melbourne and 20 acres 10 miles away at Doncaster. He soon sold his 20 acres, but later increased his landholdings at hawthorn to over seven acres, including several houses. On 29 December 1853, Andreas was naturalized as a Victorian citizen, to enable him to officially take title to his first land purchases.

On 6 July 1854, Andreas Kaiser married Maria Finger, a fellow Pribislaw passenger and Hawthorn resident. Maria had been born in Quirl, Silesia. The wedding was the first at the newly completed Trinity Lutheran Church at East Melbourne, dedicated less than a month before. Kaiser was to be actively involved with this church for the rest of his life, serving as trustee and committee member.

In 1855 Andreas and Maria Kaiser leased their property to Heinrich Finger and moved to Ballarat. They lived there for over three years, before returning to Hawthorn, where Andreas had previously established an orchard, vineyard and market garden on his land. From 1858 he sold fruit in Summer = mainly apples = and wine on the diggings and in Winter he sold wood in the city. During the rest of the year he worked in the orchard.

Several other members of the Kaiser family also migrated to Australia, encouraged by Andreas, who corresponded with his family in Germany for many years. In 1855, his sister Maria arrived, followed by another sister Anna and brother Johann in 1858. Maria first lived at Westgarthtown, but was living at hawthorn in 1859 when she married Johann Hirt, a Ballarat shoemaker and miner. Anna, who also worked for the Zimmer family at Westgarthtown for over a year following her arrival, married Michael Zwar’s brother Johann in 1863 and moved to Ebenezer in South Australia.Johann Kaiser lived and worked in both Melbourne and Ballarat until he died at Hawthorn in 1901.

Andreas and Maria Kaiser had at least six children, although several died young. Their first child Edward died in 1878 aged 22; Mary Elizabeth in 1874 aged 16; Martha in 1880 aged 17; and Phillip in 1870 aged 1. Only Johannes and Anna maria survived to marry, the latter to Pastor Johann Gottlieb Hegelau in 1897.

Andreas and Maria Kaiser remained at Silesia, their home at 46 Liddiard Street, Hawthorn until shortly before his death, when they moved to their daughter’s home at the Lutheran Manse, Doncaster. He died there on 30 December 1912 aged 85. Maria died at Hawthorn on 23 July 1920 aged 84. Both are buried at the Boroondara Cemetery, Kew.

Source: From Hamburg to Hobsons Bay (1999)