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Query re 1854 Kleinwelka Bell Order

by Rob Wuchatsch

Mrs Gertrud Mahling of Bautzen, author of Shores of Hope: Wends go Overseas, contacted me recently to ask if we knew which group of Wends in Australia ordered a bell from a foundry at Kleinwelka in Saxony in 1854. She discovered the bell order during her research and would like to know who ordered the bell, in which church it was placed, what happened to it and where is it now. She said the bell may have been ordered by intending Wendish emigrants who took it with them to Australia or by Wends who had already settled in Australia.

As I did not know the answer to Mrs Mahling’s query, I asked other members of our committee. Our treasurer, Clay Kruger, said the bell at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church at Tabor in western Victoria came from Kleinwelka. I then contacted Betty Huf, another committee member and researcher from Tarrington near Tabor. Betty confirmed that Tabor’s bell was indeed made in Kleinwelka but not until 1887.

Three other Kleinwelka bells are known to exist in South Australia but these date from 1872 (Lights Pass), 1874 (Keyneton) and 1890 (Dutton). We would be grateful if any of our readers could help solve the mystery of the 1854 Kleinwelka bell for Mrs Mahling. Given the early date we think it is more likely the bell was ordered by a South Australian congregation than one in Victoria.