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Johann Mirtschin (1809 - 1884)

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Johann Mirtschin aka Mirschin, Mercin
Born in Saxony, Sachsen, Germanymap
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in Penshurst, Victoriamap
Profile last modified | Created 6 Mar 2017
This page has been accessed 257 times.

Categories: Free Settlers.

Contents

Biography

This biography was auto-generated by a GEDCOM import. It's a rough draft and needs to be edited.

Johann was born in 1809, the son of Peter Mirtschin and unknown unknown. [1]

Johann Mirtschin married Maria Gude.

He passed away in 1884, aged 75.[2]

Birth

Birth:
User ID: 12B22FEE-9905-4AB4-904D-84C945EE24E5
Record ID Number: MH:IF669
Date: 14 MAR 1809
Place: Saxony, Sachsen, Germany

Death

Death:
User ID: 70D27F8C-B2EF-4CA5-90FD-3CB8662707D6
Record ID Number: MH:IF670
Date: 1919
Place: Penshurst, Victoria, Australia

Record ID Number

Record ID Number: MH:I476

User ID

User ID: 0B553845-C8E7-415D-AC70-46392735D7AC

UPD

UPD 11 JAN 2012 19:44:42 GMT-8

Note

Note:

About Mirtschin, Johann

When first married Johann & Maria made their home at Doehlen which was close to the River Spree, the ancient hiding ground of the Sorbs in times of war. It was also home to eels. Johann loved to catch eels, slippery creatures which were to feature in sporting & eating activities of the later Mirtschins & their descendants in Australia. The Mirtschin`s had various recipes for cooking them : whether by pickling, smoking, boiling or frying. In this respect they had much in common with the Aborigines in Western Victoria who annually farmed eels and had canals for this purpose at Lake Condah.

Immigrated 24 Dec 1851, `Helena`, from Lusatia arriving in Adelaide Christmas eve 1851. Settled near Mt Rouse Residences: Rosenthal, Portland, Gnadenthal MIRTSCHIN (MJERTSCHIN, MIRTSCHING; Zwar: MIERTSCHINK; Observer MIRTSCHING) Johann b. 14.3.1809 Dohlen. From Dohlen, Farmer. [d. 26.3.1884 Penshurst, Victoria, Australia]

Johann`s words regarding the death of his children on the voyage to Australia -

The conditions took their toll on the children. One of the passengers, Johann Mirtschin later recalled:

``Soon after we boarded our ship our two children became ill with diarrhoea. I immediately called the doctor. As soon as we were afloat we met with very stormy weather and most of us became seasick. At first our children were less affected than we older ones. We soon recovered but the two children became weaker every day, and in spite of the doctor´s efforts, Marga died at five in the morning of October 14th.

Because of the warm weather the burial took place without delay. She was wrapped in white linen and tied to a board. All on board, the Germans as well as the Wends - attended and were much moved. First we sang the hymn ``Whatever God ordains is good´´, then Peter Döcke gave an address in both the German and Wend languages. Then followed the hymn ``Now calmly in the grave we lay´´. The captain then came forward, removed his cap and offered a prayer. Two sailors slowly lowered the body into the ocean.

My wife and I now nursed Andreas with special care and prayed that God would grant us the joy of his recovery. However his condition deteriorated and on October 26th, at 7 in the evening, he died. All the Wends held a Memorial Evening, sang songs and hymns and closed the evening with prayer. On the next day we buried him, like his sister,with a German and a Wendish address and the singing of a hymn.´´

[Johann Mirtschin letter 19.9.1854]. Andreas was 3 years old.

Thirteen days later the three month old son of Andreas Pannach (Ponich) died and was buried at sea. The Zwar´s turn would come later.

Southern Grampians Shire Heritage Study -

MIRTSCHIN`S HOMESTEAD COMPLEX

Location

Springfield Lane PENSHURST, Southern Grampians Shire

Statement of Significance

What is significant?

Mirschin`s Homestead Complex is a complex of bluestone buildings located off the Penshurst-Macarthur Road in Burger`s Road, 10kms due west of Penshurst. The homestead complex consists of a bluestone homestead and staff quarters, bluestone stables, an early orchard, a later corrugated iron woolshed and as a number of structures made of bluestone surrounding the homestead. These include an outdoor bread oven, smoke house, cow shed, pigsty. An archaeological site is located immediately adjacent to the current homestead, where a two storey Lehmwickle structure dating from the 1850s was located. This was removed in 1973. The Mirtschin Homestead complex is built on land which was purchased by Johann Mirtschin and five other Wendish settlers in 1853. Each family was given an allotment of land, on which they built similar pug or Lehmwickle houses, an intact example of which survives at the adjacent Burger family property, Acacia. A later homestead was built in the mid 1870s as Johann and Ernestine`s family grew. The bluestone homestead, servants quarters and stables are in very good condition, and retain a high degree of integrity; the smokehouse, oven, pigsty and cow shed are in good condition and retain a high degree of integrity.

How is it significant?

Mirtschin`s Homestead Complex is of historical, architectural, social and archaeological significance to the Gnadenthal community and the Southern Grampians Shire.

Why is it significant?

Mirtschin`s Homestead Complex is of historical significance for its long association with the Mirtschin family, who have had continuous ownership of the property since 1853. It is of further historical significance for the range of outbuildings which are adjacent to the homestead, and those which are some distance away. These buildings indicate a self sufficiency and a utopian ideal which is indicated in the name which the original settlers of the German community chose, Gnadenthal, meaning `Valley of Grace`. The complex is historically significant for demonstrating the early immigration and settlement of a minority German group, specifically the Wends or Sorbs into Western Victoria from South Australia. It is of social significance as one of the best and most intact demonstrations of their lifestyle. It is of further significance for its links with the settlement of the Wimmera. The complex is of architectural significance as a complete small mixed farm and especially for the use of vernacular construction techniques. The site is considered to be of archaeological significance for the potential which the site of the original Lehmwickle house may have to yield information about the past.

History

The Boram Boram Parish Plan shows that a G. G. Crouch purchased the two allotments, A (to the west) and B (to the east), of section XV(15), comprising 312 acres each, possibly early in 1853 but probably after 1855. Nothing is known of George Crouch who may have been no more than a speculator. A plan of `Suburban and Country Lands & the Township of Penshurst near Mount Rouse in the Parishes of Yalimba and Boram Boram` was published in 1855 with his name on Section XIV but not on the adjacent allotment. Johann Friedrich Krummnow purchased the neighbouring 1,584 acres, which was to become the utopian commune of German Lutherans called Herrnhut. These two allotments were then amalgamated and re-subdivided into a northern, middle and southern third. The Albert family established a farm on the northern third, Peter Burger established Acacia on the middle third and the Mirtschin family established their farm on the southern third, bounded by the Penshurst-Macarthur Road.

Johann Mirtschin emigrated with his family on the Helene in 1851. He arrived with a number of other Wendish families in the Lyndoch Valley in South Australia, and the following year he and his family travelled by sea to Portland while the other members of the Wendish party travelled overland (ibid.). The Mirtschins were temporarily based at Portland, in which time Pastor Schurmann met with them and some of the group purchased land at Hamilton (then known as The Grange). In 1853, along with five other settlers, Johann`s father purchased 624 acres near Mount Rouse, and they named their community Gnadenthal, meaning Valley of Grace (ibid., 50). It was at this time that Johann built the two storey pug house which remained for nearly 120 years.

In 1871, Johann married Ernestine, the eldest daughter of Johann and Johanne Uebergang in 1871. It is believed the couple lived with Johann`s family until he inherited the land. Johann and Ernestine had nine children between 1872 and 1891, and perhaps as a result of their rapidly growing family, a more substantial bluestone residence was built in the mid 1870s. Johann Mirtschin died aged 79 in 1919 (ibid.50), and his third son, Paul managed the farm while Ernestine, her unmarried daughter Emma and handicapped son, Eddie lived on a cottage on the farm. After Ernestine and Eddie`s deaths, Emma continued to provide assistance to Paul and his wife Annette (nee Matushka) who continued to reside in the newer bluestone residence. The property is now owned and run by the fourth continuous generation of the Mirtschin family.

Description

The homestead and stables are in very good condition, the other stone outbuildings are in good to fair condition, and the site of the earliest mud house is potentially of some archaeological significance.

Mirtschin`s Homestead is located at the end of a long driveway off Springfield Lane, approximately 10km west of the township of Penshurst. The homestead complex consists of a bluestone homestead,and stables, an early orchard, a later corrugated iron woolshed and as a number of structures made of bluestone surrounding the homestead. These include an outdoor bread oven, smoke house, cow shed, pigsty.

The bluestone house was originally of four rooms, built in the 1870s, and was extended in 1937. It is a single storey symmetrical house with a central passageway and rooms to either side. The front door is symmetrically arranged, with a twelve pane double hung sash window on either side. The homestead has a simple corrugated ironhipped roof, and corrugated iron verandah supported by timber and concrete posts. It is thought that the verandah was replaced in the Interwar period. The exterior of the homestead appears to be in very good condition, and retain a good degree of integrity (the interiors were not inspected). This homestead was built to replace the earlier lehmwickle homestead which was built by the first Mirtschin family who settled this allotment. This early homestead was located 20 metres south of the current homestead, and was of two storeys. It was removed in 1973, and it is possible that some archaeological potential may exist at that site.

About 50 metres south of the bluestone house is a simple bluestone stable, with a corrugated iron gabled roof. The stable is divided into two sections, defined by timber doors which are painted yellow and red. The yellow double timber doors were for the stables, and the red single timber door indicated the wheat shed. The stables appear to be in excellent condition, and retain a high degree of integrity.

To the west of the homestead, a primitive domed bread oven built of stone and simple one roomed stone smoke house. The oven is in poor condition and the smoke house is in fair condition. A cow shed and pigsty constructed of crude uncut stones are located some distance east of the house, and are long low rectangular structures. The cowshed is half corrugated iron, and has some associated stone walls. The pigsty and cow shed are both in fair condition. The bread oven, smokehouse, cow shed and pigsty all retain a high degree of integrity.

An orchard is located some distance east of the house, and has a number of fruit trees in it surrounded by a stone wall. The species and varieties of the orchard have not been inspected. The orchard appears to be in good condition and retains a very high degree of integrity.

The woolshed is made of corrugated iron, and located adjacent to the cow shed, some distance east of the house. It replaced an early timber woolshed burned down in 1963.

Extract from `Veneti - First Builders of European Community` by Jozko Savli, Matej Bor and Ivan Tomazic, published in 1996 in Austria.

Johann Mirtschin, with his family was one of the vast number of pioneer families from Tabor and Gnadenthal in Western Victoria who were considered to be German, but who were in fact Wendish of the Slavic race, also called Sorbs. Johann was born into a very different community, in the village of Steindorfel in 1809 in what was the Kingdom of Saxony, who married Maria Gude in Saxony. They made their home in Doehlen by the river Spree, the ancient hiding ground of the Wends in times of war. The political turmoil throughout Europe had an impact on Saxony during the occupation of Napoleon and his forces. The instability of the political scene lasted into 1840`s and combined with some dissatisfaction with the church scene, poor harvests over successive drought seasons and subsequent lack of sufficient food and depression times, allied to the longing for a more peaceful existence in Australia.

Saxony was a kingdom with everything officially done in German. The Sorbs-Wends were an ethnic minority and not all could speak German well. Place names had their official German names but also their Wendish names. Johann Mirtschin was known back home as Jan Mercin.

Wends were a very superstitious people who prized personal freedom. Crimes against the individual, family or tribe were severely punished. The marriage bond was held sacred among them. Often called `stubborn`the Wends were tenacious people who defended themselves at all costs. Once converted to Christianity they displayed a warm hearted faith and intense religious feeling, persevering and imparting their faith to their children regardless of cost or effort. The Wends were hardy,stocky and strong-boned people. Most have wavy brown hair. They have agreat capacity to endure pain and hardship. They were not easily discouraged and their determination grew in the face of opposition.They loved trees, art and singing. A deep-feeling people, their loyalty was not lightly withdrawn once given. They were energetic and ambitious; a mystical people, they leaned readily towards spiritualism and prophesies. They raised large families and lived long lives...

In 1848 there were political uprisings throughout the German States.The Wends rejoiced when they saw the end of the feudal system. Their flag was shown for the first time at the pan-Slavic congress, which was held in 1848 in Prague. In Saxony, the Wends presented a petition to the Royal Saxon Assembly. These requests for recognition did not get a very favourable reaction and only a few were met. Their joy was short-lived when they found that the land they wished to till was expensive. Unemployment was wide spread. In 1849 there was an uprising in Dresden, the capital of Saxony, and Prussian troops were to be brought in.

Jan and Maria Mercin had good reasons to emigrate to Australia. The barge `Helene` with a group of Sorbs finally left Hamburg on 19 August 1851. There was a strong bond within their culture and against the Germans. Together the travellers found comfort in singing their precious hymns when they needed to be reminded of God`s sustaining grace. The barge `Helene` arrived in Port Adelaide on Christmas Eve 1851 after being on board for some 16 weeks. Johann and Maria with their three surviving children (two died at sea) travelled to Rosenthal where there were other Sorbs and Wends living around Lyndochin Barossa Valley. A year later they had moved to Portland with enthusiasm after the exploration party had returned. Portland was a desirable place for newly arrived immigrants of any nationality to settle, for the town economy was severely depressed. The paper`Guardian` reported: `Come, good Germans, come and cultivate our lands and grind our corn. They were in fact expecting 300 German families, but were disappointed at the arrival of 11 wagons and families only. The Mercin family finally established themselves and built their home in Gnadenthal in the times of the gold rush in Victoria around Ballarat area. `Gnadenthal`, meaning `The Valley of Grace` was the name given to their new little community in Australia. The early years at Gnadenthal were busy and most difficult for Johann and Maria`s families and their neighbours. But this Sorb-Wendish community was close-knit. Most of the families had known each other before emigrating, some were even related. They were bound together by their cultural identity, which gradually disappeared, their longing for a better life and their old Lutheran faith. Jan and Maria Mercin had 13 children and of their seven surviving children, five married Sorbs. The Mirtschin family could look back over an incredible journey through life across continents, through joys and sorrows in the company of faithful friends and fellow-believers...

The words `Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord` which appeared in the death notice for Johann in 1878, apply equally to the matriarch and patriarch of the Mirtschin family in Australia...(*1,pages 10-12)

`By the singleness of purpose, their hard work, and perhaps most of all the revealing of God`s grace in their lives, this Sorbian/Wendish families had flourished. A little group of strangers in a very strange land.`

Following is an extract from BOUND FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA - HELENA 1851 by DIANE CUMMINGS

THEY ARRIVED AT PORT ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA ON CHRISTMAS EVE, 1851

Andreas Pannach (a fellow passenger) was sent to make contact with the Wends at Rosedale while the rest of the migrants visited Adelaide. There they heard that the Rosedale Wends had sold their properties and were intending to move hundreds of miles east to Portland Bay in the new colony of Victoria where there were other Germans and Wends already living in or near Melbourne, including Johann’s brother Michael. At first Johann’s group thought they would leave their main goods on the ship as it would be passing near Portland Bay on its way to Melbourne, and all the Wends could be in Victoria together. Then Pannach arrived back with the news that the Rosedale Wends had indeed sold, but first needed help with their harvest, and they only intended moving to Victoria in March. When the Rosedale people arrived with a number of wagons to pick them up, the Zwar group decided to rent a house in Port Adelaide to store their goods, and took only their most immediate needs with them to Rosedale. As it turned out only a few families later moved on to Victoria, including Hundrack, Burger,Mirtschin and Rentsch. They eventually settled inland from Portland Bay, at Tabor, near Hamilton on rich volcanic grazing country. Other Wends to settle there in the early days included Albert, Deutscher, Hempel, Petschel, Stephan and Urban.

Johann Mirtschin, with his family was one of the vast number of pioneer families from Tabor and Gnadenthal in Western Victoria who were considered to be German, but who were in fact Wendish of the Slavic race, also called Sorbs. Johann was born into a very different community, in the village of Steindorfel in 1809 in what was the Kingdom of Saxony, who married Maria Gude in Saxony. They made their home in Doehlen by the river Spree, the ancient hiding ground of the Wends in times of war. The political turmoil throughout Europe had an impact on Saxony during the occupation of Napoleon and his forces. The instability of the political scene lasted into 1840`s and combined with some dissatisfaction with the church scene,poor harvests over successive drought seasons and subsequent lack of sufficient food and depression times, allied to the longing for a more peaceful existence in Australia.

Saxony was a kingdom with everything officially done in German. The Sorbs-Wends were an ethnic minority and not all could speak German well. Place names had their official German names but also their Wendish names. Johann Mirtschin was known back home as Jan Mercin.

Wends were a very superstitious people who prized personal freedom.Crimes against the individual, family or tribe were severely punished.The marriage bond was held sacred among them. Often called `stubborn`the Wends were tenacious people who defended themselves at all costs. Once converted to Christianity they displayed a warm hearted faith and intense religious feeling, persevering and imparting their faith to their children regardless of cost or effort. The Wends were hardy, stocky and strong-boned people. Most have wavy brown hair. They have a great capacity to endure pain and hardship. They were not easily discouraged and their determination grew in the face of opposition. They loved trees, art and singing. A deep-feeling people, their loyalty was not lightly withdrawn once given. They were energetic and ambitious; a mystical people, they leaned readily towards spiritualism and prophesies. They raised large families and lived long lives...

In 1848 there were political uprisings throughout the German States. The Wends rejoiced when they saw the end of the feudal system. Their flag was shown for the first time at the pan-Slavic congress, which was held in 1848 in Prague. In Saxony, the Wends presented a petition to the Royal Saxon Assembly. These requests for recognition did not get a very favourable reaction and only a few were met. Their joy was short-lived when they found that the land they wished to till was expensive. Unemployment was wide spread. In 1849 there was an uprising in Dresden, the capital of Saxony, and Prussian troops were to be brought in.

Extract from FIRST WENDS (Veneti) IN AUSTRALIA -Recently I shared thebook `Veneti` with a local and a much respected pastor Mr. Noel Uebergang, who displayed great interest about the Wendish history. He introduced me to the Holy Bible in their original language and also to his well documented family history which was compiled in detail in the following books: `Mirtschin (Mercin) Family in Australia from 1851 -1990` and `A Little Leaven The Peucker History` from 1853 - 1984. These great and well known families have openly and proudly professed the cultural and historical background of their Wendish culture. Such historical texts have inspired and amazed me as I have developed an awareness of these `little group of strangers in this very strange land`.

Noel`s great great grandfather, Johann Mirtschin, with his family was one of the vast number of pioneer families from Tabor and Gnadenthal in Western Victoria who were considered to be German, but who were in fact Wendish of the Slavic race, also called Sorbs. Johann was born into a very different community, in the village of Steindorfel in 1809 in what was the Kingdom of Saxony, who married Maria Gude in Saxony. They made their home in Doehlen by the river Spree, the ancient hiding ground of the Wends in times of war. The political turmoil throughout Europe had an impact on Saxony during the occupation of Napoleon and his forces. The instability of the political scene lasted into 1840`sand combined with some dissatisfaction with the church scene, poor harvests over successive drought seasons and subsequent lack of sufficient food and depression times, all led to the longing for a more peaceful existence in Australia.

Saxony was a kingdom with everything officially done in German. The Sorbs-Wends were an ethnic minority and not all could speak German well. Place names had their official German names but also their Wendish names. Johann Mirtschin was known back home as Jan Mercin.

Wends were a very superstitious people who prized personal freedom. Crimes against the individual, family or tribe were severely punished. The marriage bond was held sacred among them. Often called `stubborn`the Wend s were tenacious people who defended themselves at all costs. Once converted to Christianity they displayed a warm hearted faith and intense religious feeling, persevering and imparting their faith to their children regardless of cost or effort. The Wends were hardy, stocky and strong-boned people. Most have wavy brown hair. They have a great capacity to endure pain and hardship. They were not easily discouraged and their determination grew in the face of opposition. They loved trees, art and singing. A deep-feeling people, their loyalty was not lightly withdrawn once given. They were energetic and ambitious; a mystical people, they leaned readily towards spiritualism and prophesies.They raised large families and lived long lives...

In 1848 there were political uprisings throughout the German States. The Wends rejoiced when they saw the end of the feudal system. Their flag was shown for the first time at the pan-Slavic congress, which was held in 1848 in Prague. In Saxony, the Wends presented a petition to the Royal Saxon Assembly. These requests for recognition did not get a very favourable reaction and only a few were met. Their joy was short-lived when they found that the land they wished to till was expensive. Unemployment was wide spread. In 1849 there was an uprising in Dresden, the capital of Saxony, and Prussian troops were to be brought in.

Jan and Maria Mercin had good reasons to emigrate to Australia. The barge `Helene` with a group of Sorbs finally left Hamburg on 19 August 1851. There was a strong bond within their culture and against the Germans. Together the travellers found comfort in singing their precious hymns when they needed to be reminded of God`s sustaining grace. The barge `Helene` arrived in Port Adelaide on Christmas Eve 1851 after being on board for some 16 weeks. Johann and Maria with their three surviving children (two died at sea) travelled to Rosenthal where there were other Sorbs and Wends living around Lyndoch in Barossa Valley. A year later they had moved to Portland with enthusiasm after the exploration party had returned. Portland was a desirable place for newly arrived immigrants of any nationality to settle, for the town economy was severely depressed. The paper`Guardian` reported: `Come, good Germans, come and cultivate our lands and grind our corn. They were in fact expecting 300 German families, but were disappointed at the arrival of 11 wagons and families only. The Mercin family finally established themselves and built their home in Gnadenthal in the times of the gold rush in Victoria around Ballarat area. `Gnadenthal`, meaning `The Valley of Grace` was the name given to their new little community in Australia. The early years at Gnadenthal were busy and most difficult for Johann and Maria`s families and their neighbours. But this Sorb-Wendish community was close-knit. Most of the families had known each other before emigrating, some were even related. They were bound together by their cultural identity, which gradually disappeared, their longing for a better life and their old Lutheran faith. Jan and Maria Mercin had 13 children and of their seven surviving children, five married Sorbs. The Mirtschin family could look back over an incredible journey through life across continents, through joys and sorrows in the company of faithful friends and fellow-believers...

The words `Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord` which appeared in the death notice for Johann in 1878, apply equally to the matriarch and patriarch of the Mirtschin family in Australia...

Life wasn`t all rosy for the New Australians. Apart from the long hours of toil, the primitive equipment and the lack of education, it was still better then back in Prussia. They reminded themselves again and again of the hardship they faced in the old country. They put their backs behind the plough, built churches and thanked God for their new lot in life

`By the singleness of purpose, their hard work, and perhaps most of all the revealing of God`s grace in their lives, this Sorbian/Wendish families had flourished. A little group of strangers in a very strange land.`

Extract from The Helene 1851 - The Helene is a summary of a presentation by Kevin Zwar to the Wendish Heritage Society on 18th September 1991 at the Society`s Helene Banquet - the 140th Anniversary of the Helene`s journey to Australia - held at Box Hill, Victoria.

On Christmas Eve they reached Port Adelaide, and on Christmas day they set foot on land. Zwar reported that their journey had been very pleasant particularly due to the love the travellers showed towards each other. He gives a brief description of the daily routine:

`We had daily divine services. Soon after breakfast we mostly assembled on deck where the men for the greater part smoked a pipe,others tailored men`s garments with the women sewing or mending dresses. The men engaged in discussions concerning Christian doctrine or mundane affairs .... Concerning the meals, everyone regarded them according to their taste, the one sweet and the other sour, the third thin, the fourth thick. You can not please everyone.`

On their arrival at Port Adelaide they sent Ponich off quickly to Rosedale (near the Barossa Valley) to let their friends and fellow Wends there know to come and visit them before the Helene left for Melbourne.

In Adelaide they learned that the Rosedale people had sold their land and after harvest they intended to go to Portland Bay in Victoria. The suggestion was made for the Helene Wends to unload, help with the harvest, and then to go to Victoria together. The Helene people wondered if it was worth unloading in Adelaide only to have to load again in a few months. They rented a house in Port Adelaide to store their goods and travelled to Rosedale where they helped with the harvest.

Only a few of the Helene Wends moved on to Victoria the next year. The majority settled in the Barossa Valley and their settlement became known as Ebenezer. It was one of the two key Wendish settlements in South Australia last century. The other was Peter`s Hill.

At Ebenezer they had devotions in their homes in Wendish, and lay reading services. For a few years they had a Wendish school. It is the only Wendish school that I know of in Australia. This gave way to the German school. Many of the Wends also spoke and were fluent in German,although some of the women and children could only speak Wendish. In time they all went to school or church where the German language was used. The parents would speak to the children at home in Wendish and the children would reply in German. A generation or two later and the parents would speak to the children at home in German and the children or grandchildren would reply in English.

Ebenezer never became a town. The Lutheran church was the centre of the community and it is still interesting to visit the church and cemetery today. When the Lutheran Church celebrated it`s 50th anniversary in Australia in 1888, Johann Zwar gave an elderly layman`s recollection in a paper at the celebrations. He recalled how they could not simply join the Lutheran congregation when they arrived. They were first subject to a lengthy public examination on their teachings, with great details about the Second Coming of Christ. When they passed the examination Zwar announced that his group was not prepared to join up with just anyone, so he conducted a public examination of the congregation they intended to join! His history of the first fifty years is mainly taken up with strife among the Lutheran congregations in the Barossa Valley.

In 1852 nine families travelled to Portland in Victoria. This included three families from the Helene, Mirtschin, Hundrak and Burger. The Mirtschin family travelled by ship to watch over the furniture and goods the group sent this way. Unfortunately some of the furniture and goods had to be thrown overboard in a storm when it was feared the ship might founder. The other families joined together in an overland trek with oxen and carts and cattle. Andreas Albert records:

`On 26th April we left on our journey to Portland Bay, going overland with carts and all the cattle. Our journey went very well. In the evening we rested and the cattle were left out on the the grazing ground. We each lit a big fire as required, mostly with several families together. Then we cooked and also baked bread bread ..... In the evening each rested with his own family in the wagon. However the large families erected a tent or a tent cover. Each could sleep in peace and quiet because there are no wild beasts here except kangaroos and dingoes. Those who went overland (as well as Albert, the letter writer) were Michael Deutscher, A. Deutscher, G. Petschel, J. Rentsch, J. Hundrak, P. BURGER, J. HUF from Hoffnungsthal. ... On 26th May we came to Portland Bay, with everyone healthy and in good spirits.

We all obtained accommodation there because at the time there were many empty houses there as many people had gone seeking gold.` All the families were Wends except the Huf family. A detailed account of the journey has been written up in the excellent Deutscher Family History Book.

One of the Burger girls worked as a maid in the Henty home. Her brothers worked for a land surveyor. Andreas Albert earned money carting firewood. He describes Portland as appearing to be bigger than Adelaide.

The Portland Wends had hoped to buy farming land immediately but it was either too expensive or the land had not been surveyed off, so they had to wait. Land became available at Hamilton but it was too expensive for most of them at about four pounds per acre. The surveying of land was a problem in South Australia and Victoria in the early years. The governments could not get the land surveyed off as quickly as people wanted to buy it. So they often surveyed it off in areas of a square mile, which was far more than most people could afford, so groups of families clubbed together and bought a square mile (640 acres) and then divided it up between themselves. When land became available near Mount Rouse the families Albert, Burger, Mirtschin, Urban, Stephan and Schmidt clubbed together and bought 1200 acres. It is near the present town of Penshurst. They were the founding members of the Tabor congregation which was the main Wendish congregation in the Western part of Victoria. Even before leaving South Australia the families had sent a call to Pastor Schurmann who was in South Australia working among the aborigines. He accepted their call and arrived in Portland before the families had even bought land. This caused some difficulties. He spent the rest of his life in the Hamilton area. One congregation called their settlement and later a town `Hochkirch` after the Wendish town and church centre near Bautzenin Lusatia. During the first world war the name was changed to Tarrington.

Letter Written to the Lieutenant Governor -

`The German congregation at Portland Bay,

We ask you, the honorable Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, to forgive us for our bold request when we as British subjects ask for help from you honorable Excellency in the hope, that our Lord Governor will listen to us most graciously. In the year 1851 a group of Germans from Adelaide, and consisting of more than 300 souls applied for land in this Colony near Portland to the honorable Excellency, the Governor. The answer, which they received was not to their liking and they gave up their plans.

However, our group of ten families, altogether 50 souls, decided to comply with the Melbourne laws and to go to the Colony at Portland. We are all farmers (agricultural) and came in May 1852 cross country from Adelaide to Portland bringing with us all our animals (cattle, horses, etc.) and implements and tolls. Through our representatives M.Deutscher and J. Huf we have applied four times for land, suitable for cultivation.

So far we have not achieved anything and there have been no sales of land, suitable for wheat farming in the area.

We have lived for nine months here in and around Portland in rented premises, waiting for land. We have lost half of our draught animals and soon will not be able to keep the remaining few beasts, because we have no fodder.

In Adelaide we lived amongst German colonists and therefore most of us do not yet speak English. This is the reason why only a few have been able to find work (and earn some money), the rents for houses are steadily increasing and most of the time accommodation is not at all available.

We will not be able to hold out much longer in this situation. Most of us do not know any other work but agriculture, and we ask most obediently and humbly as servants of your honorable Excellency that you will offer for sale in the near future the land, which we have indicated in the enclosed application. It is situated in the County of Hamilton. Does not the Melbourne law state that land should be offered for sale as often as there is a demand for it?

The names of the people asking for land, are as follows:

Gotthelf Petschel

Wilhelm Petschel

Carl Petschel

Andreas Burger

Johann Burger Michael Schmidt

Gottfried Schneider

Johann Hundrack

Johann Rentsch

Johann Mirtschin Andreas Albert

Andreas Deutscher

Michael Deutscher

Johann Huf

If your Excellency will see fit to grant our request most graciously we would like to ask for your favourable reply as soon as possible. We will forever remain as your most obedient and faithful subjects and servants

Signed by the chairman of the congregation

Michael Deutscher `

No more info is currently available. Can you add to this biography?

Sources

  1. DoB based on age at DoD, parents names from death registration
  2. Victorian death registration 1884: 02375,,Mirtschin,Johann,Peter,,Pinshurst,75,

Acknowledgments

Thank you to David Macphail for creating WikiTree profile Mirschin-3 through the import of February2011 - 31021013.ged on Jul 8, 2013. Click to the Changes page for the details of edits by David and others.




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DNA
No known carriers of Johann's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

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Johann is 29 degrees from Sharon Caldwell, 26 degrees from Burl Ives and 20 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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