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Kotzur Reunion, 14 – 15 October 2023


A weekend of family celebration and thanksgiving was held at Culcairn Bowling Club and Alma Park in New South Wales on 14 – 15 October 2023, where over 80 relatives of the Kotzur family met for a Reunion.

The Reunion was suggested by Ruth and Karen Kotzur, both of whom married fourth generation descendants of Martin Kotzur (1833 – 1916) and his wife Lisa, nee Towk (1834 – 1900).  A committee was formed in January to plan a Reunion to commemorate 166 years of settlement in Australia.

On Saturday evening a banquet meal was held at the Culcairn Bowling Club, where guests dined and shared conversation and memories with relatives that many had not seen for a long time.  Coloured banners representing each child of Martin and Lisa were displayed, and some took advantage of the opportunity to take a family photo near them.  Those who correctly answered some trivia questions about Kotzurs were awarded prizes donated by Kotzur, the local engineering firm.

On Sunday a thanksgiving service was held at Salem Lutheran Church at Alma Park.  This was led by Pastor Ian Kotzur and Pastor John Borchert.  After the service a group photograph was taken in front of the church.  A plentiful luncheon of steak sandwiches, sausages in bread, sandwiches, cakes and desserts in the Alma Park Hall was appreciated by all.  The noise level of the conversations indicated the huge enjoyment of catching up with extended family.  Tables of photos and memorabilia were assembled along a wall for people to browse some family history and go on a nostalgic journey.

When lunch was complete another photo session of family groups assembled in front of the old Alma Park schoolhouse, to claim the moment in time.  In late afternoon, a small party visited the Alma Park and Pleasant Hills cemeteries to see the graves of Martin and Lisa which actually are apart – Martin at Alma Park and Lisa at Pleasant Hills.  Some flowers were laid on Lisa’s grave by Alexandra Frew who is a Towk descendant.  After all the celebrations, a beverage at Pleasant Hills Community Hotel was in order and we toasted “the Kotzurs!”


About Martin and Lisa Kotzur

The Kotzur journey commenced in 1857 from a village named Jänschwalde in Lower Lusatia, 150 kms south-east of Berlin, when Martin Kotzur and his wife Lisa bid farewell to their homeland.  They, like others, were seeking better opportunities to build a future for themselves and their family.

The Kotzurs arrived in Sydney from Bremen aboard the Gottorp, then travelled by steamship to Portland in Western Victoria.  They settled with other Wends at Neukirch (Byaduk) near Hamilton.  Five children were born at Byaduk:  Marie, Johann, Christian, Anna and Bertha.

In 1868 they travelled overland, with other families, to Jindera in New South Wales.  They farmed at Gerogery, where four more children were born:  Friedrich, Martin, Ernst and Louise.  The Kotzurs later farmed at Alma Park and finally at Pleasant Hills in New South Wales.  They were true pioneers, clearing and developing land to use for agriculture in each of the places they lived.

Martin and Lisa were deeply religious.  They were founding members of the Byaduk, Gerogery, Alma Park and Pleasant Hills Lutheran congregations.  They were guided by their strong Christian faith which can still be observed in the descendants of this remarkable couple.  The Kotzurs are trustworthy and kind people who are always willing to help their neighbours.  Thanks to all descendants who made the journey and to those who helped behind the scenes to make this Reunion a great event.