German settlement in Australia

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"Klemzig – German Village on the Torrens"

German settlement in Australia began in large numbers in 1838, with the arrival of immigrants from Prussia to Adelaide, South Australia. German immigrants became prominent in settling South Australia and Queensland. From 1850 until World War I, German settlers and their descendants comprised the largest non-British or Irish group of Europeans in Australia.

Kinnear winegrowers – April 1838[edit]

On 23 April 1838, the barque Kinnear arrived at Sydney carrying six German wine growing families. Johann Justus, Friedrich Seckold, Johann Stein, Caspar Flick, Georg Gerhard and Johann Wenz, were the first German vinedressers in Australia. Hundreds of Germans followed their arrival in Australia. They worked in the vineyards belonging to John Macarthur's son William Macarthur in what is now Camden. These six families were recruited from the Rheingau region of Hesse by Major Edward Macarthur.[1]

The Prince George and Bengalee group – November 1838[edit]

The second group arrived with Pastor Kavel on the ships Prince George, and Bengalee from what is today known as Germany. The group was composed of Lutheran immigrants who had left their homeland escaping what they considered to be religious persecution at the hands of Prussian King Frederick William III, mainly because of their rejection of Prussian state enforcement of a new prayer book for church services. They settled at Klemzig, six kilometres from Adelaide, named after their home town in the Prussian province of Brandenburg.

The Zebra Group – December 1838[edit]

The next group arrived in 28 December 1838, on the Zebra with Captain Dirk Meinerts Hahn. Captain Hahn, assisted this group in acquiring land in the Adelaide Hills, where they settled Hahndorf.

The Catharina Group – January 1839[edit]

The last of the initial wave of immigrants arrived in January 1839, on the Catharina. This group settled predominantly at Glen Osmond.

The Skjold Group – October 1841[edit]

In 1840 a letter was sent to the Old Lutherans in Prussia to encourage others to also emigrate. Included in this letter was a request for a second pastor to be sent also. The group set sail for Australia, on 11 July 1841 on the Skjold. On a trip beset with sickness, 55 people, mainly young children and the elderly, died. On 28 October 1841, 213 emigrants from Prussia arrived at Port Misery in South Australia. With them was Pastor Gotthard Fritzsche, who had been encouraged to emigrate because of the Prussian government's requirement for a Pastor to accompany the emigrants. The migrants settled at Lobethal, and Bethenien.

In 1842, Langmeil was settled.

Hermann von Beckerath Group – 1847[edit]

Early German immigrants were instrumental in the creation of the South Australian wine industry. One of the earliest wine makers, whose descendants still produce wine, was Carl August Sobels. Born in Dresden in 1802, he arrived in South Australia on the Hermann von Beckerath in 1847. At first he farmed at Macclesfield before moving to Tanunda where he produced table wines. After his death in 1863 the business was conducted by his son Ferdinand.

By the mid-1840s, the German community in South Australia had become large enough to warrant its own German-language newspaper. The first German language newspaper in Australia, Die Deutsche Post, was founded in Adelaide c. 6 January 1848.[2]

San Francisco Group – October 1850[edit]

The barque San Francisco (a three masted barque of 450 tons (nm) built in Bjornberg, Sweden in 1846 and owned by J C Godeffroy & Sons) landed a number of emigrants in South Australia on 14 October 1850 on 15 (or 23?) June 1850 after leaving Hamburg[3][4] The ship almost never arrived, as it sailed straight into a major storm at Port Misery (Port Adelaide), which also wrecked the barque Grecian (three-masted, built at Sunderland, England in 1841) earlier that day. It was reported in a local newspaper of the time that the newly arrived emigrants on the ship were from the linen-producing Prussian province of Silesia. Like previous German emigrants to South Australia, the passengers then dispersed throughout the colony.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Harmstorf, Ian and Cigler, Michael (1985) The Germans in Australia Melbourne : AE Press. Australian ethnic heritage series. ISBN 0-86787-203-9
  • Tampke, Jurgen and Doxford, Colin (1990) Australia, Willkommen : a history of the Germans in AustraliaKensington, N.S.W : New South Wales University Press. ISBN 0-86840-307-5


  1. ^ Gerald Walsh (1979):The Wine Industry of Australia 1788 1979. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  2. ^ "The Miscellany". Adelaide Observer. XLVIII (2571). 10 January 1891. p. 41. Retrieved 16 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 16 March was 11th Thursday in 1848.
  3. ^ "SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE". South Australian Register. Adelaide. 16 October 1850. p. 2. Retrieved 8 August 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ 'San Francisco' Hamburg, Germany to South Australia 1850 at The Ships List

External links[edit]