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Hahn Family

Letters and other Documents pertinent to the descendants of Ignatz Hahn and his wife Margarethe.

Engelbert Hahn's letter to his parents-in-law

Source: Wilhelm Kirchner, _‎Australia and its precursors for emigrants‎­_ (Frankfurt am Main: 1850), pp. 66-75, viewable at opacplus.bsb-muenchen.de and at books.google.com [English title: "Australia and its advantages for emigrants"; Wilhelm Kirchner described himself on the cover page as "settler for nine years in New South Wales and consul for Hamburg in Sydney]

p. 66: "Letter of Engelbert Hahn to his parents-in-law Jakob Kremer in Eltville

Carcoar, 27 August 1849, via Sydney, New South Wales

Dear parents-in-law!

A hearty greeting and kiss to everyone, may my letter reach you as healthy and happy as it leaves us all. We all arrived healthy and well on Australian soil after many difficulties. On March 8th we left London, and got as far as Gravesend, where we did not lift anchor until the 13th; the first day we got to Dover, were becalmed there on the 14th, 15th, and 16th, and got out of the Channel on the 17th. Our sea voyage was very good, we had storms twice, but those rather small; however, we had to fight hunger a lot, because we were so unused to ship food, our Wilhelm on Maundy Thursday was so hungry he ate potato peels, but we all were still healthy on the voyage after sea-sickness had passed, my wife had it badly, but I did not even a single time, Kätchen [little Cathy] had it as well. Our Joseph got several teeth on the ship, and as a result had bad eyes for 8 days, also he was vaccinated with pox on the ship. 4 children died during the voyage, Hartge's girl, Gerhardt Meyer's little Franz, Klumm's little child, and an 8-day old child that Lenna of Lindscheid bore the man who is with us here; but 4 also came to the world, so we arrived with the same number of souls as we left London. Mrs. Meyer had a girl, which was baptised in Sydney.

On July 5th at daybreak we saw the coast of Sydney, but because of contrary winds we could not enter the harbor that day, only the next day at 7 a.m. did we enter the harbor. [p. 67] A beautiful harbor 6 miles long to the city, the coast is studded with trees like they grow in greenhouses with us [in Germany], at 10 o'clock we anchored off the city and everyone was jubilant finally to have reached the new homeland. I, too, thanked the Giver of all Good, that He had protected my family so far, and asked myself, what the new homeland would bring me? Peace or ill, but the future will show, I am healthy and well and of good spirit, the rest is in God's hands. We were not allowed to land until Tuesday, on Tuesday morning we docked and were allowed to go into the city, with what happy feelings I stepped onto land after we had been exposed to the stormy elements for 4 months. Sydney is a big city, but still developing into a significant trade center, until now Sydney is still without cobblestone [i.e., streets are still just dirt], but beautiful houses and wide streets, arranged in squares like in Mannheim [a famous planned city in Germany], I believe that in a century it will surpass London. There are many Germans in Sydney who already settled here earlier, who are doing quite well. Mr. Martin visited us on board on Monday, he lives 22 miles from Sydney; when we left Sydney on the 12th of July we got to within 5 miles of Martin's place, and on Thursday morning we arrived at his place at 10 o'clock, as one of our carts had to load salt at his master's, who is related to mine, and that was my most joyful day since we left Germany; they are doing very well, Martin and Bienstadt work in the vineyard, Mr. Stahl is in the cellar, taps [the barrels] and fills, in short he is lord of the cellar, Mr. Iffland and his son fill meat and lard barrels and don't have anything to do in the cellar. The sister-in-law says she has it as well as Mrs. Herber, and it is true that they [the women] can live fully and the labor is child's-play compared to Germany, the women have nothing to do but simply watch over their households, Stahl, Bienstadt, and Iffland are with him [Mr. Martin and his master?]. Iffland has declined quite a bit, as has Mrs. Baaß, their best days are probably behind them, as they were never used to hard work and always lived it up. They are given every week 20 pounds of meat, 20 pounds of flour, 4 pounds of sugar, 1/2 pound of tea, and each year 480 florin - but those fine morsels and good cuts fall away. I was very glad to find Mr. Martin with his wife and children, Mr. Stahl with his family and Mr. Bienstadt so happy and healthy; they are all glad no longer to be in Germany.

[p. 68] We could only stay with them until 3 p.m., as our cart left again; they accompanied us quite a ways, and it hurt us quite a bit to leave them again, because we are 42 hours further than Martin's, but we can write each other quite often, as every month some of ours go to Sydney. That same day we got to Panrith [sic; I presume he means Penrith], where we had to stay 3 days because of heavy rains; at midday on Saturday the rain let up a bit, and I and Mr. Mayer took our rifles and went along a little river to shoot ducks, and as we had gone 2 miles we met a man who said that Germans had already been living in the next house for 3 months. So we went there and as we arrived near the house we saw a woman with two children carrying wood; we approached and - imagine our surprise - we saw it was Katharine, Mr. Helm's wife, she too was very astonished to see us so unexpectedly. Mr. Helm was not at home, as he had gone to Parramatta where his master lived, but he let us know where he could meet us, as we wouldn't leave [Penrith] until Monday. He already came early Sunday morning with a cart and took us to his place, and we spent all day with him; he doesn't like it there, as he is all alone [with his family, but no other families around], and also he says his master is not the best, but I cannot judge that, as he is very hot-headed and has already had dealings with other people there.

His wife complained to us that she had already had to spend 5 pounds sterling; I cannot understand that, as he is given food, and his master gave him two cows. Because livestock are wild here, they are difficult to milk, and so he let them run off and prefers to buy his milk; if he had instead tamed the cows, which would have taken only 8 to 14 days, he would have had milk, butter, and cheese.

We left on Monday and had to cross a mountain chain as high as our Feldberg [in the Taunus mountains that rise above Eltville]; it took us 8 days to get across them to Bathurst. I thought that with our landing our troubles would have ended, but that wasn't the case, because we had to sleep for nine nights under the cart in the forest.

In the evenings we lit 3 to 4 fires, where we cooked, and we kept the fires going all night, as it is very cold in the mornings; we also several times had snow, which went away again quickly [p. 69] as the sun rose. We had to carry the two kids half the day, because it is too terrible to ride [the cart]; it is the only road that leads into the west of Australia, lots of sharp abysses of terrible depths, because here, unlike in Germany, you do not have guardrails (so that the high-and-mighty, who return home drunk from a party, won't break their necks), and it is particularly in these places that the road is at its narrowest; as we left the mountains at Bathurst it was so steep on both sides that I, on foot with Wilhelm on my shoulders, could not look to the side, even though I do not easily get vertigo, and I had to keep looking straight ahead. We spent a night in Bathurst; the city is still in its early stages, built in square blocks with beautiful open spaces. Until now it does not yet have much of a reputation, though it commands everything to a distance of 12 miles; other than that for 8 days we had just forests, with a post house every 6 to 8 miles and twice small villages with 15 to 20 houses.

From Bathurst it was still two days' travel to the estate [Coombing Park] of Master [Thomas] Icely, where we arrived on July 25th at 6 p.m. (they had already been expecting us for several days). The people there were very accomodating, they immediately took our kids and entertained them for the evening. Two miles from our place is a small village [Carcoar] of about 50 houses, a church and a school. The estate is beautifully situated, about 500 to 600 Morgen [German agricultural land measure, a Morgen was equivalent to 2,500 square meters] to sow, but they only plant wheat, maize, and potatoes here, other than that nothing is raised in this area. More further below about local agronomy and economics.

God be thanked we are doing well; I work as a carpenter, wheelwright, and cooper (which last trade I learned during the 4 months on the Parland from Mr. Hermann and Mr. Wacker, because out of boredom we turned the empty meat barrels into buckets and small barrels (in which task my work bench and tools came in very handy) and what else is needed in a house). Mr. Mayer is a coachman with two horses, Mr. Lehna has a cart with oxen and so does Mr. Berg from Rauenthal. My brother works as a shoemaker and is with me. My wife and Mrs. Mayer do laundry for their lordships [i.e., the Icelys] twice a week and each receive 10 pounds sterling or 120 florin [for the year, I believe]. Because of the travel costs they will not receive more in the first year. Here a carpenter receives [p. 70] 40 pounds sterling, in addition we (I, my wife, Joseph, and my two children) each week receive 30 pounds meat, 30 pounds flour, 6 pounds sugar, 3/4 pounds green tea, free housing, lighting, wood, salt, and every day 1.5 to 2 measures milk. We do not have to spend a penny, as here one eats: in the morning tea, bread, and meat; at noon: soup, meat, and a cup of tea; evenings: tea and milk; this is our food, which is quite healthy, as the tea is very healthy and good for digesting the meat and also good for thirst. We still have to raise vegetables, as we have a garden of one Morgen for Mayer and me.

Almost never a day passes that we do not think of you and say, if only my mother-in-law had that piece of meat lying on her table when she came into the kitchen in the morning; how often we wish that you were with us, for then all your troubles would be past, and those of poor little Rosie and her Franz, because Franz here could get 15 pounds sterling of money and 20 pounds of meat and flour, 2 pounds of sugar and tea, housing, wood, and salt, from which they could live quite well. Our work is child's-play compared to in Germany, here there are no masters who climb into attics with spy-glasses to see whether the laborers are taking a breather - no, here we work like humans and not like cattle, as with you the poor man has to do in order to get bread for himself and his family. We don't eat rye bread here, instead our bread is made of wheat and is like cake; moreover here (even though we eat this kind of bread every day) there is no official barging in and asking whether you are supported by poor relief if you dare eat cake once a year - no, not here! Whoever has two strong arms has full support here; I even had to acquire two dogs so that I did not have to throw away the meat we could not eat, because we can't actually eat 4.5 pounds of meat a day day-in and day-out.

Our master's estate begins at Carcoar (the village mentioned above) and is 5 miles broad there. It resembles a pie-slice, with each side 100 miles long and the cross-line 100 miles broad, a beautiful estate, but still all forest which is being used for cattle grazing. He has 35,000 sheep, about 7,000 to 8,000 cattle, and 800 horses with 60 people who tend the livestock. Two mines (copper) and 60 souls on the manor. On the manor there are [p. 71) 36 oxen, 10 carriage horses in addition to those for riding and for the carts, chickens, turkeys, peacocks, and guinea fowl in extraordinary amounts, no swine [on the manor itself] as they run 50 strong in the woods and on the fields so that they do not even need to be fed. There is no wall around the manor, and each building stands on its own without the slightest fencing, but we have a living ringwall, as there are 40 dogs plus their young on the manor. Kätchen (little Cathy) already in the first days started as a serving girl for the lordships in their house; for the first year she will receive clothing and shoes and what else she needs, for the second year 10 pounds sterling and 16 pounds the third year. I am glad that I brought the child along, here she can save quite a bit until her 24th year, while in Germany she would have been abandoned; if little Regina and Eva were here, they would do well.

The country here is still little farmed and mostly woods, except near Sydney and Paterson and Maitland. People do not raise more than they need for themselves. The main occupation here is livestock-raising, on the range both summer and winter, never fed in a barn; also the cattle are not milked more than is needed for the household, and those to be milked are brought into a fenced area near the manor house; despite how extraordinarily many cattle we have [on the estate] only 20 are milked, and the others the calves can suckle as long as they want. The English here don't raise anything but wheat and a few potatoes for their needs; nothing is eaten but meat and tea. A frugal man can build himself up in 10 years here. One Morgen of land that is still forested costs 8 florin [there are 12 florins to a pound sterling], but the forests are not as dense as with us, here and there a tree but good grazing inbetween - if you buy land for 100 pounds sterling you have 150 Morgen, then 50 pounds sterling for livestock, that gets you 40 cattle, you will have some space to raise food for your own needs, you can build your own house out of timber (you don't need solid stone-built houses here, also not for warmth). After a year you will already have doubled your livestock with no further trouble than to look after them, as they don't need to be fed. A fat oxen gets you 4 to 5 pounds sterling or 48 to 60 florin in the winter, 24 to 30 florin in the summer, a nice bull 100 florin, a fat cow 18 to 24 florin - so after a few years you have a larger herd and can earn a nice sum each year. Oh, there are many Englishmen who [p. 72] arrived here poor 12 to 14 years ago and are now rich men, but the majority come to nothing because they drink everything away. We had a family of gardeners here on the manor, a father with three grown sons, who left 14 days after we arrived; these 4 men each year had wages of 105 pounds sterling or 1260 florin, and had been on the manor 5 years, but when they left they barely had 10 pounds sterling - they had gotten 6300 florin in 5 years, and if they had used only 1300 florin in the 5 years (given that they received everything free like us) they should have still had 5000 florin. How they could have established themselves and become independent - but that is how the most are, beholden to dear brandy! Workers are now sought after, and if all those were here who would like to work and can't find any work in Germany, here they would find work and would even enjoy it, as they could see the goal, and it would be better for this country. Do come, all of you who can, by whatever means do it, leave Germany, for there you are and will remain slaves, even if you were to break the yoke of the tyrants you would still be slaves of the money-aristocrats. There are too many living there in the cramped space; do come, for here you will find space and means enough. What man of vigor and courage could doubt between here and Germany - to be witness there to the death-struggle of old ideas, old habits, while here there is full freedom in the true sense of the word, there disarray, religious hate, partisanship, revolution among all the peoples, here peace, the plow, science, establishment of new cities. There secular despotism, religious yoking, oriental tyranny, castes and hierarchies, lust for war and destruction, here man is given his eternal rights, free in belief and opinion. Your diligence will determine your worth here. Be a conqueror with the plow! Free thought in free liberty, not restricted through courts, ministers, priests, and censors. Who can still waver between here and there? I call upon everyone who can come to say goodbye to Germany, but not frivolous or lazy people, only vigorous men with desire and love of work. On the penalty of perjury I assure you, my German brethren, you should let the tyrants keep their parcel of land and seek your own new home and hearth here.

[p. 73] Artisans like shoemakers, construction workers (but not locksmiths), smiths, wheelwrights are all well-paid here; a good worker in one of these trades gets 21 to 24 florin a week and doesn't need much for food, 1 pound of beef 6 to 7.5 kreuzer [there were 72 kreuzer to a florin, so a kreuzer was just slightly more than a farthing], 36 pounds wheat flour 2 florin 24 kreuzer, 1 pound sugar 6 kreuzer, 1 pound green tea 36 kreuzer, 100 pounds potatoes 1 florin 36 kreuzer, 1 pound soap 9 kreuzer, 1 pound tallow for lights 15 to 18 kreuzer, 1 pound salt 3 kreuzer, 1 pound coffee 15 to 18 kreuzer, 4 pound nice white bread 9 kreuzer. Finished clothes and shoes are more expensive than in Germany due to the labor, but the raw materials cheaper. Tanners could find work here, 3 to 4 florin for an oxskin - sheepskins have little value, calves are not slaughtered. Woodturners also find a good income.

I will not write for the next two years, unless if something special were to happen; when my two years are up I will see what I will do, and then I will write you. Let my siblings see this letter, and they can let me know through you whether they have decided to come or to stay, and I will send the necessary instructions. I would advise you to sell everything and to come, but for you aged ones, dear parents [-in-law] the voyage would be difficult, although the old Mrs. Sayer was healthy during the entire trip.

We would dearly love it if that were possible, and even if you were to arrive naked on Australia's shores you would still be better off than in Germany. You could spend your old age in peace here, not in constant worries as you were when I left (and probably not better now, as the Sydney newspaper reports great unrest in Germany, although any news from Germany is always 4 months old).

Our Wilhelm is merry and healthy, a beautiful boy, he is the darling of the whole manor, every day he goes to the manor house (if he does not come, Kätchen has to fetch him). Joseph is also healthy and is beginning to walk, he resembles Wilhelm like one egg resembles another; the child has changed a lot in 6 months, but their characters are quite different, Wilhelm is wilder and self-willed, while Joseph is quiet and friendly. The children are my pride and joy, and I will do everything to raise them to hard-working men. [p. 74] All my work and striving now is drected towards enabling them later to have a free and independent life.

And we all greet uncle Peter Joseph, if he had only accompanied us, he would have a life here like a bird at a feeder, for my [brother] Joseph [the shoemaker] gets for fixing and putting soles on a pair of women's shoes 36 kreuzer, to fix and put soles on a pair of men's shoes 1 florin, for a pair of small children's shoes 1 florin 48 kreuzer, for a pair of new men's shoes 6 to 7 florin, women's shoes 4 florin 12 kreuzer, while with you the shoemakers eat each other up [i.e., there are so many the competition means they can't make a living] - he should come, he should be able to at least get to London. Also many greetings for Settchen and her man and to Treutche and her man; if he is now in the field as a soldier, as he is still in the reserves, write him many hearty greetings from us.

I need to close, as my wife will write you a few lines that I will enclose. Greet everyone from me, friends and enemies alike, as I have forgiven all who wished ill of me out of jealousy or ill-will; greet all democrats and Jesuits, as even far away here I remain a German.

I do ask you for a favor, perhaps one of you will be so good as to put some roses on my mother's grave until next Corpus Christi day. God forgive all those who were responsible for her early death, and a weight has been lifted from my heart as I was able to fulfill my deathbed promise to her to take care of Kätchen, and God be thanked, the child is well situated now.

We greet you all, father, mother, siblings and in-laws, my siblings and relatives, but we also greet Bäschen, Johann Gersbach, Anton Krams and Himmel, Johann in Grunners and Pleutge if he is still in Eltville, as he was a good man, also give my greetings to all of your relatives, Franz Herder, but especially the doctor's wife and daughters, as those are good people. Also please greet the Secretary and his wife. Give the letter to Philipp Nispel, as he remains my friend; though there is such distance between us, I still give you greeting from far away.

May you remain all well and healthy, please write soon, and please also let an experienced man write down the most important events in Germany since my departure and enclose it, perhaps Mr. [p. 75] Koppel will be kind enoough to do this. I believe you may get this letter by New Year's and so I wish you all a happy New Year. Mr. Usener the assesor wanted to know what it was like in Australia, please do me the favor and tell him what I have written to you. Do write me immediately that you are healthy and well, and if you all could come and bring me that letter in person, that would be even better.

Many hearty greetings also from Mr. Martin and his wife and from Louis and Valentin to you all and his mother-in-law, he will write you later himself.

I greet you once again and remain always your thankful son-in-law Engelbert Hahn.

Also a hearty greeting to Mr. Mayor Craatz and his wife, Fritz, Joseph and Jean, and I would like to know whether J. Kremer is still a vagrant or has been beaten to death by the farmers, which would make me sorry, as he after all is a good guy.

A greeting from E. Majer to dear Mr. Peter Joseph.

My address, in English: Thomas Icely Esqre, to the german family Hahn Sydney over London.

Learning English is quite easy, it is going faster than I had thought."

Vine Dressers and Vintners

On the 4th April 1849, three immigrant ships berthed in Sydney on that day – Julindur, Mary Shepherd and Beulah. The latter, of particular interest to this Hahn-Werner family, was carrying 180 bounty immigrants from the Rheingau (Rhine district) in the heart of German wine country. The 47 families on board were the first group to arrive through a new bounty scheme initiated by German merchant Karl Ludwig Wilhelm (William) Kirchner.
Among those immigrants was one Martin Kremer, brother-in-law to Engelbert, and brother to Anna Theresia Aloysia Maria Kremer Hahn, who is noted on the Hahn family's immigration papers as "a relative in the Colony". Martin (35) travelled with his wife (Anna Maria (37)) and their children (Ludwig (10), and Valetin (3) and what seems to be an infant (female?) listed as "born on the voyage"))).[1] Also listed is Johann Krermer (33), Johann's wife (Elisabetha, (33)), and their children (Valentin, and Margaretha).[2] Both Martin and Johann were vine dressers, just two of the many being brought to the Colony by German merchant Karl Ludwig Wilhelm (Wilhelm / William) Kirchner.
Although employed as something other once in New South Wales, Engelbert Hahn's listed occupation was also that of "vine dresser". Under Kirchner’s scheme, these German immigrants were contracted to work for two years for the colonist who paid their bounty. Once they had completed their contracts, many went on to purchase land for viticulture around the Mudgee and Hunter regions of New South Wales.


  1. New South Wales Government Archives Passenger list Beulah 1849; page 3
  2. New South Wales Government Archives Passenger list Beulah 1849; page 4


Thanks to An Anonymous for finding the letter from Engelbert Hahn to his parents-in-law, and then transcribing it.


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