Clara Müller was born in Rostock, Mecklenburg-Shwerin, Prussia in 1833. Clara was one of nine children, born to customs official, Friedrich Müller (1794-1835), and Louise nee Mertens (1797-1840).
Her family was decimated by the disease consumption (tuberculosis) which caused the deaths of five siblings as infants, her father in 1835, her mother in 1840 and an older sister. The three surviving children were advised by a doctor to move to a warmer climate and thus chose to emigrate to South Australia in 1847. With her brother Ferdinand Müller, age 22 later known as Baron Sir Ferdinand von Mueller and sister Bertha age 20, Clara at the age of 14 years, arrived in South Australia on board the "Hermann von Beckerath"on 15 December 1847. They resided initially in Adelaide (for a more detailed resume, see the Profile for her brother Ferdinand: Müller-3760).
The prospects for three siblings were unknown as they disembarked from their ship at Port Adelaide. As John Gitsham writes:
"They were in a new country, vulnerable and nervous, but as luck would have it, they were approached by a well-dressed English gentleman named Samuel Davenport (who would later play a major role in their life in South Australia, particularly in the purchase of the Bugle Ranges cottage). He was in the crowd watching people disembark from the ship and noticed the Mueller's. Davenport felt sorry for them and offered his home in Beaumont until they could find their own living quarters."
"The Muellers soon became friends with Davenport and his wife and remained so for the rest of their lives. Davenport was also a patron of Mueller's work throughout his life and maintained correspondence with him until Mueller's death in 1896".
Ferdinand's leisure hours and those of sisters Bertha and Clara, were fully occupied with collecting plant specimens with a view to assessing, documenting and naming the native plant species in their new home. Bertha and Clara spent many hours pressing the collected plant specimens and became valued plant collectors.
At that time, in order to acquire land in the colony, an Alien person had to be naturalized. This is most likely, the circumstance which prompted the change of spelling of the family name from the birth name "Müller", as shown on the Ships Passenger List, to "Mueller" as shown on the Notice from the Chief Secretary's Office , dated 14 August 1849. As a result, on 4 April 1850, Ferdinand and sister Clara in association with a botanist friend F.E.H.W Krichauff, purchased a small property at Bugle Range in the Adelaide Hills near Macclesfield from Samuel Davenport. They built a small, simple, two room cottage from locally cut timber - the cottage remains today. It is on the Register of the National Estate #006612 and on the National Trust classified list.
The Muellers were keen collectors of botanical specimens in the Adelaide Hills and Barossa Ranges. In 1851, Ferdinand travelled extensively throughout the colony of South Australia to expand his systematic study of its plants, thereby establishing himself as the colony's botanical authority. After leaving Bugle Range, Ferdinand returned to his employment with Mr Heuzenroder.
Like her brother Ferdinand, Clara was a keen botanist and collected specimens for the National Herbarium of Victoria (designated MEL) (as 'Miss Mueller') in Bugle Ranges in 1848 and the Barossa Range in South Australia.
In 1852, they moved to Melbourne where Ferdinand was appointed the Government Botanist. On 14 October 1853 in Richmond, Vic, Clara married physician, Dr Eduard Wehl (1824-1876) who had migrated from Coblenz, Prussia. They settled in Mount Gambier, South Australia where fifteen children were born to the marriage. Three of the children died as infants. The eldest child, Bertha Ottilia Wehl married George Adolphus Harris in 1874.
The family maintained their interest in botany. Clara's husband, and at least three of their children including Louise, Marie and Meta Wehl, also collected MEL specimens.
In 1871, the family moved to Millicent in 1871 where Clara continued to collect MEL specimens (as 'Mrs Wehl') at Lake Bonney, 1874, 1882; Mount Gambier, 1880; Mount Burr, 1881-1887; sources of Broughton River, 1894; and MacDonnell Bay (including algae), 1894. Her brother, Ferdinand Mueller named the genus Wehlia for Clara and her husband in 1876. There are also Clara specimens (as 'Mrs Wehl') at AK.
Immigration Arrived barque Hermann von Beckerath, 580 tons, Captain Kahle, from Bremen, Germany 18th July 1847, via Rio de Janeiro, arrived at Port Adelaide, South Australia 15th December 1847
Marriage 14 Oct 1853, Richmond, Victoria, Australia
Death Clara died at Millicent, SA, on 31 July 1901 at the age of 68 years.
Given Name(s): Clara Christina Marie Last Name: WEHL Death Date: 31 Jul 1901 Gender: F Age: 67y Approx. Birth Year: 1834 Marital Status: W Relative 1: Johann Dietrich Eduard WEHL (DH) Relative 2: Residence: Millicent Death Place: Millicent District: Grey Symbol: Book/Page: 279/449 (5)
Children of Edward and Clara
see notes for Dr Wehl
(1) Hill Les R. Mount Gambier The City Around a Cave. 1972 ISBN0-85864-009-0
(2) Wikipedia. Ferdinand von Mueller. Entry cited 1 November 2018
(3) http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/hermannvonbeckerath1847.shtml (4) Gitsham, John. "Muellers Cottage. Baron Ferdinand von Mueller: An overview of his life in Adelaide, botanical work and his cottage in the Bugle Ranges, South Australia from 1847 - 52", Booklet, 2013. https://www.macclesfieldhistory.com.au/von_muellor.html
(5) One letter from Clara to Mueller, and one from Mueller to Clara survive. M gave Clara copies of Schleswig-Holstein Meerumschlunger (1865), and The poetical works of Mrs Torrens M'Cann (1888). https://www.anbg.gov.au/biography/mueller-clara-christine-maria.html
(7) Mueller/Müller, Clara Christine Maria (later Mrs Wehl) (1833 - 1901), Biographical Notes Australian National Herbarium, updated 3 February 2015
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