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Ernst Gottlob Salomo Ziesche (1817-96), a Wend, was born at Weissenberg, 17 kilometres east of Bautzen, on 24 May 1817. The son of Ernst Christoph and Sophie (nee Benad) Ziesche, he arrived in Australia aboard the Pribislaw in February 1850. Hoehne says Ziesche first took employment as a shepherd 60 miles from Melbourne, but by 3 May 1851, when he was naturalized as a New South Wales citizen, he was employed “as a journeyman shoemaker in Melbourne.” Soon after he commenced shoemaking on his own account.

The 1851 Victoria Directory records Ziesche, shoemaker, as living at 196 Stephen Street, Melbourne. On 5 April 1853, then living at Richmond, Ernst pledged financial assistance towards the salary of Pastor Goethe, the newly installed Lutheran minister and on 28 April 1853 donated 2 pounds towards the erection of a Lutheran Church in Melbourne. On 16 October 1853, he was a signatory to a petition to Lieutenant Governor La Trobe, praying for the appointment of a German interpreter in Melbourne.

On 17 March 1853, Ziesche purchased a block of land at hawthorn from Henry Finger, a fellow Pribislaw passenger. Later the same year, on 7 December 1853, he sold it for 350 pounds.

On 13 March 1855, at the Trinity Lutheran Church, East Melbourne, Ziesche married Christiane Matschke, of Werben, Prussia, almost certainly a Lower Lusation Wend. Ernst’s address was then Collingwood, his age 37 and occupation shoemaker. Christiane, also of Collingwood, was 25 and a spinster.

The 1856 Victorian Legislative Assembly Electoral Roll recorded Ziesche as a shoemaker and owner/occupier of a property in Spring Street, Melbourne. Soon after, he and Christiane moved to Northcote, a nearby suburb with a small German community, where six children = Ernestine, Maria, Louisa, Christiane, Ernst, Ernst Henry and Annie Caroline – were born. The 1870 Shire of Darebin rate book includes an entry for Ernst Ziesche, shoemaker, house and one acre in Clarke Street, Northcote.

Ziesche died at Northcote on 8 January 1896 aged 78 and is buried in the Northcote Cemetery. Christiane died at Northcote on 29 March 1898 aged 67 and was buried with Ernst.

Source: From Hamburg to Hobsons Bay (1999)