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Past Events

Grovedale / Germantown Pioneers’ Memorial Stone

by John Noack

The early pioneer families of Germantown (now Grovedale, Victoria) were commemorated with the unveiling of a Memorial Stone at the Germantown Cemetery on 10 Sept. 2006. Local historian June Winter has researched the early German families, many of whom were buried in this cemetery.

The first group who settled included the families Bieske, Baensch, Winter and Kerger. They arrived on the ship Emmy in 1849 and were subsidised by Dr Alexander Thomson because they were needed to work as vine-dressers. Each family was offered a block of about one acre near the Waurn Chain of Ponds Creek.

Other early settler families included on the memorial were Andresson, Rossack, Kosseck, Hartwich, Pacholke, Renzow, Heyer, Schultz, Baum, Momm, Jasper, Lorke, Schneider, Hermann and Klemke.

Most were Lutherans who built their church with walls of mud and a roof of thatched grass. This was also their school where the first teacher, Mr Stranger, taught from 1854 to 1858. Pastor Matthias Goethe conducted the first church service on 24 June 1854. By 1859 two congregations, Trinity and St Paul’s, emerged, with the early records being stored in the Trinity manse. When this manse burnt down in 1893, the early records were lost.

In 1875, the disease phylloxera destroyed the vines. The vineyards were replaced by orchards and market gardens, which dominated the area for over one hundred years.

We thank June Winter for providing the results of her research of the Germantown Cemetery’s history.