Menu Icon

ZSCHECH, Michael and Magdalene

Michael Zschech (1821-1916) was born at Wawitz, ten kilometres east of Bautzen, on 30 November 1821. The son of Johann and Maria Zschech, he was confirmed at Hochkirch on 27 March 1836. In 1848 he married fellow Wend Magdalene Hempel and they arrived in Melbourne aboard the Pribislaw in February 1850 with her parents and three of her brothers.

Soon after arrival, the Zschech and Hempel families settled together at Brunswick, now an inner Melbourne northern suburb. When naturalised as a Victorian citizen on 27 March 1852, Michael gave his occupation as farmer, possibly on his father-in-law’s farm. Magdalene’s father, Johann Christoph Hempel, had purchased 20 acres of land on the north side of Glenlyon Road, Brunswick in 1851 (part portion 99, Parish of Jika Jika) and subsequently sold one acre to Michael on 4 July 1857 for £ 100.

Michael was one of 24 Germans who signed a formal invitation to Matthias Goethe on 1 March 1853 to become pastor of the Lutheran congregation they represented. Goethe agreed and was inducted later that month. Soon after Michael contributed £ 4 towards Goethe’s annual salary and £ 2 towards the cost of the Trinity German Lutheran congregation’s first church building at East Melbourne, which was dedicated in 1854. During the 1850 and 1860s, at least two of Michael and Magdalene’s children were baptized there. In 1880, he is also recorded as having donated £ 1 towards reducing the debt on the second Trinity church building, which had been erected in 1874.

Michael and Magdalene Zschech’s children were Carl (1851-1920), Johann (1852-54), Maria Therese (1856-81), Emma Emilie (1860-?), Anna Christine (1862-63) and twins Bertha (1868-1893) and Frederick (1868-1955). By 1870, Michael’s occupation had changed from farmer to quarryman.

Carl, known as Charles, trained as a blacksmith and wheelwright and carried on business in High Street, Northcote for many years. In 1884 he married Bella Crilly and they had four children. The surviving daughter Emma Emilie Zschech married a farmer, William McGregor of Maldon in 1895 and they had four children. The youngest son Frederick settled in Wangaratta where he operated a saddlery and harness business. He married Margaret Jones in 1896 and they had five children.

Magdalene died in 1908 at Brunswick aged 81. During the early 1900s, Michael sold all his land at Brunswick and moved to central Victoria to live with his daughter Emma McGregor. Michael died at Walmer on 19 July 1916 aged 94 and was buried at Maldon.

by Robert Wuchatsch