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Jakob Gruhl visits Wendish Library

by John Noack

On Saturday, 25 January 2014, the Society was pleased to receive a visit from Jakob Gruhl, a young man from Bautzen, currently holidaying in Australia.

Australia, with its open spaces, continues to attract many backpackers from Germany, including Lusatia. Jokob Gruhl and his partner Karoline from Bautzen in Upper Lusatia recently joined this group and they picked strawberries at Young in New South Wales and other types of fruit at Berri near Loxton in South Australia. This work included being near and observing the recent Renmark bushfire.

After a tour along the coast in South Australia, a visit to some of the goldfields of Victoria and an encounter with a kangaroo which damaged their borrowed car, Jakob was able to visit the Library of the Wendish Heritage Society Australia at 27 Livingstone Street in Ivanhoe on Saturday morning at 10 am. Here, he inspected the information in family histories compiled by Wendish descendants, the display of modern posters and some old postcards from 1906 and he received information about Wendish descendants in Australia today.

He indicated that he grew up and went to school in Bautzen. At Leipzig, he studied Museology and he did his Diploma on the open-cut coal mining and the resulting destruction of Wendish/Sorbian villages in Lusatia. He also completed a project on the Sorbian Museum in Bautzen.

His other interests include electronic music, as well as History and Art History and he is looking forward to their first child in May.

At Ivanhoe, after the Community Lunch, he was presented with some photos of the Burger Cottage at Penshurst by Gladys Koch nee Burger and with a book “From Hamburg to Hobson’s Bay” by Robert Wuchatsch.

This visit concluded with a tour of the pioneer settlement at Thomastown, including an inspection of the Wuchatsch House, the Cemetery, the Church and the Ziebell Farmhouse, yard and garden. He noted that the church building has been in continuous use since 1856.

No doubt Australia’s open spaces will continue to attract more adventurers from Germany, including Lusatia. In response, Wendish descendants here in Australia can show that their Lusatian heritage is still being remembered and celebrated.