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Johann Pannach (1824-64), a Wend from Rachlau, eight kilometres south-east of Bautzen, arrived in Melbourne aboard the Pribislaw in February 1850. After two years in Victoria, during which time he spent five months brickmaking with fellow Pribislaw passenger Carl Traugott Hoehne, then cleared and grubbed timber, before spending four months on the Mt Alexander goldfields, he moved to South Australia.

Pannach recorded his emigration experiences in letters he wrote back to his family in Upper Lusatia during the early 1850s, three of which were published in Wendish newspapers there at the time. He wrote on the one hand about the difficulties of emigration, such as the voyage, life in a foreign country and coping with a new language, but on the other of the benefits of life in Australia and his great joy at meeting the newly arrived Wends who arrived aboard the Helene in December 1851. He also included advice for intending emigrants.

Pannach was at first disillusioned with Australia, but soon changed his mind and with £ 250 gained from gold mining was able to pay off his debts and purchase land at Lights Pass, near Nuriootpa in the Barossa Valley. He had first travelled to South Australia after hearing of the arrival in Adelaide of the Helene. An elder brother Andreas, sister Agnes and Andreas’ wife Maria arrived aboard the Helene, along with at least 90 other Wends, including Johann’s future wife Anna Gude, from Doehlen. Johann’s three other sisters – Magdalene, Maria and Anna – also emigrated and settled in Australia.

On 28 May 1852, while living at Lights Pass, Pannach was naturalized as a South Australian citizen. His occupation was given as farmer. Soon after, on 3 July 1852, he purchased 80 acres nearby at Ebenezer (Section 3006, Hundred of Belvidere) for £ 80. In December 1852, he visited Portland to see his future wife Anna, who had moved there with many of the Helene Wends, including her sister Maria and her husband Johann Mirtschin. Pannach spent Christmas there and he and Anna, who was then aged 23, were married at Bethany, South Australia on 12 April 1853. Anna, born 1829, was the daughter of Adam and Agnes (nee Deutschmann) Gude.

In august 1853, Pannach wrote home to Germany from Ebenezer refuting Hoehne’s negative accounts of Australia. In 1855 he purchased two nearby allotments – Sections 46 and 3000 in the Hundred of Belvidere – both 77 acres. Soon after he sold Section 3006 to Johann Zwar and Andreas Kleinig for £ 400. In 1859, he paid £ 400 for 80 acres at Angas Park (Section 55, Hundred of Mooroomoo) near Angaston and moved his family there.

Johann Pannach and his wife had seven children, although only four survived infancy. He died of bowel inflammation at Angas Park on 26 October 1864, aged 39. He was buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery, Lights Pass. Anna, who did not remarry, died on 16 July 1893 aged 63 and was buried with Johann.

Source: From Hamburg to Hobsons Bay (1999)