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LIESCHKE, Johann and Maria

Johann Georg Andreas Lieschke (1796-1855) and his wife Maria née Jannasche (1792-1867) were Upper Lusatian Wends from Rascha, near Bautzen. Johann, Maria and three of their children – Anna, Andreas and Jacob – arrived at Port Adelaide from Hamburg aboard the Helene in December 1851. Two adult sons remained in Saxony.

There were 98 Saxon Wends on the Helene and in 1852 they established a farming settlement and congregation near Stockwell which they named Ebenezer. Johann, whose occupation in Germany was a cooper, leased Section 3004, Hundred of Belvidere where he and his sons erected a pug cottage and cleared, fenced and prepared the soil for cropping. Andreas leased Section 3005 and Jacob later purchased land at St Kitts.

Anna Lieschke (1829-54) married Adam Wenke, a fellow shipmate, on 22 November 1853, but died at Ebenezer on 23 October 1854, aged 25. She left a new-born daughter named Maria. Less than six months later, on 1 April 1855, Johann Lisechke died aged 58 and was buried with Anna at Ebenezer. His widow Maria eventually moved to St Kitts to live with Jacob and died there on 4 December 1867, aged 75. She was also buried at Ebenezer.

Johann and Maria’s son Andreas Lieschke (1831-92) married Maria Altus at Ebenezer on 15 September 1858. Maria, also a Wend, was born at Rodewitz near Bautzen and arrived in Australia in February 1858. Andreas and Maria farmed at Ebenezer until October 1868, when they and seven other families travelled by wagon train to Jindera, near Albury in New South Wales. In January 1869, the group moved further north and founded another settlement which they also named Ebenezer (now Walla Walla). There Andreas selected 250 acres (Portion 17, Parish of Walla Walla) for himself and an adjoining 100 acres (Portion 16) for his brother Jacob. Here the task of building homes, clearing land and ploughing and planting crops was repeated, along with the establishment of a Lutheran congregation, church and school.

Andreas and Maria’s family increased to ten children before his death on 14 May 1892 aged 60. Maria died on 25 July 1912 aged 77. Both were buried at Walla Walla.

Jacob Lieschke (1834-84), who did not marry, followed his brother Andreas to Walla Walla in 1869. He built a house on his 100 acres and purchased other land before his death on 30 September 1884 aged 49 as a result of a horseriding accident. He was also buried at Walla Walla.

The Lieschke family remained in contact with their relatives in Germany. In 1907 Andreas Lieschke’s son Jacob, son-in-law Jacob Wenke and grandson Bernhardt Wenke undertook a world tour, which included a visit to Germany, where Bernhardt began studies at the Plauen Gymnasium in Saxony. In Lusatia, they were able to converse in and attend church services in the Wendish language, almost 60 years after their parents had left Germany.

By Robert Wuchatsch (summary based on book Lieschke Family History: Commemorating 150 Years in Australia 1851-2001.