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KSCHENKA, Matthes and Louisa

Matthes Kschenka was born in Cottbus in the county of Kolkwitz in Brandenburg, Prussia.  Church records give his birth date as 19 November 1836, but Matthes himself believed that he was born in April.  He was the fourth child of Martin Kschenka and Christiane née Borrack.  Martin died at the age of 35 years and Christiane then married Johannes Lieschke.

Matthes and two sisters, Anna Maria and Christiane, migrated to South Australia with their mother Christiane, her husband Johannes Lieschke and their children Elizabeth, Friedrika and Friedrich.  They travelled on the Victoria which arrived at Port Adelaide on 25 September 1858.  The family moved to the Peters Hill area where Anna Maria Kschenka married Martin Huppatz on 5 October 1859 and Christiane Kschenka married Matthes Zerna on 1 November 1860.  Both couples married at the Peters Hill Schoolhouse.

Matthes Kschenka, a farmer aged 29 years, married Louisa Pumpa, 27 years, at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Peters Hill, on 20 October 1865.  Louisa was born on 14 June 1838 to Martin Pumpa and Anna née Mattick in Drewitz.  Louisa travelled to Australia with her sister Caroline on the Susanne which arrived in Adelaide on 4 December 1864.  Louisa was 26 and Caroline 23.  Louisa was incorrectly recorded as Maria on the shipping list.  Caroline married Matthes Marschall at Peters Hill on 26 April 1865.

Matthes and Louisa Kschenka had six children:  Martin Matthius (Martin), Hanna Louise (Annie), Friedrich (Fred), Wilhelm (Bill), Christine Caroline (Carrie) and August Gustav (Gus).  Louise died of serious apoplexy (a stroke) on 10 August 1876, seven days after Gus’s birth and is buried in the Old Lutheran Cemetery in Peters Hill.  Matthes, who had a 100 acre farm (Lot 1589, Hundred of Belvidere, District of Gilbert) from 1866 until 1870, remained in the district until 1887.  Matthes’ mother Christiane and stepfather Johannes Lieschke remained in the Saddleworth area for the rest of their lives.  Christiane died near Hamilton in 1901, aged 89, and Johannes Lieschke died at Anlaby, aged 90, in 1911.  They are both buried at Marrabel in South Australia.

Matthes and eldest son Martin went to the Jeparit district in Victoria in the 1880s.  They had a stump-jump plough and cleared land for others around Woorak in the Nhill area.  A lease for an uncleared 640 acre Mallee Allotment was transferred to Matthes and Martin in April 1888.  They kept this land for fourteen years, until April 1902.  Fred and Bill came from South Australia and worked with them.  Fred acquired a lease for a second Mallee Allotment of 1068 acres in July 1893.  The family formed a company farming under the name Kschenka Bros.  Gus also came over and worked with them. Matthes and sons worked the pair of horses, Martin the eldest drove the buggies.  Matthes was reported to be a very hard worker.

Fred sold his farm in 1907 and returned to South Australia, accompanied by Matthes whose health was deteriorating.  Mabel Kschenka (Martin’s widow) and Carrie nursed Matthes at Manoora in 1910.

On 6 December 1909, Matthes applied to become an Australian citizen and took the Oath of Allegiance on 17 December 1909.

Matthes lived with Annie in his last years, sitting in her shop in a wheelchair and summoning her with a bell when a customer came into the shop.  He died at 100 Gouger Street, Adelaide on 29 January 1913, aged 76, and is buried at the West Terrace Cemetery.

Cheryl Moulder