Prussian and German Settlement in Queensland

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Prussian and German Settlement in Queensland

Farm in the German settlement area in Westbrook, Queensland, ca. 1896 Script under photograph reads: 'Deutsch Besitzung in Westbrook.' English translation, 'German Settlement in Westbrook'.

Prussian/German settlement and migration to Queensland is a complex topic. The first two German immigrant ships, Marbs and the Aurora, arrived on 22 March 1855 at Moreton Bay (Brisbane) direct from Hamburg, with almost 1000 German settlers, mainly from the Tauber River Valley in southern Germany. They made up more than a quarter of the year's total immigration into what is now Queensland. There had been 47 deaths on the ships due to outbreaks of typhus, cholera and measles. Some passengers went to jobs in the Ipswich area, some to the Maryborough area, and many went to work in the Toowoomba district. The arrival of these settlers was due to Edward Lord, a storekeeper from Drayton on the Darling Downs, who pioneered the idea of encouraging German migration direct to Moreton Bay, rather than through the port of Sydney. He had been at a meeting of Darling Downs squatters and businessmen held on 21st July 1851 in the Bull's Head Inn at Drayton. This meeting decided to bring German workers direct to the Moreton Bay (Brisbane), rather than through Sydney. From October 1851 to July 1852 Lord, who had been educated in Germany, advertised in the Moreton Bay Courier, offering to landowners his services as an unofficial immigration agent. Wilhelm Kirchner, the Consul for Hamburg and for Prussia in Sydney, was not happy about Lord's actions, as he was already the official German immigration agent for NSW (which still included Moreton Bay). Edward Lord's 1854 trip to Germany promoting Queensland was a major factor in the emigration of the passengers of the Marbs and the Aurora.[1]

In 1861 there were only about 2,000 Germans in Queensland, and they were mainly in the cities, working as labourers and tradesmen.

The first Queensland Government set up a committee under Dr John Dunmore Lang (head of the Presbyterian Church in Australia). This committee sent Johann Christian Heußler(Heussler), a successful German businessman in Brisbane, to Germany to recruit immigrants for Queensland. He was able to offer immigrants attractive deals, including free ship's passage, good wages, and the right to select land to the value of £12 once their compulsory period of service (usually 2 years) to a local employer was over. The employer had paid for their ship's passage. Heußler did a good job and Germans arrived in Queensland in large numbers over the next decade and more, mainly in family groups. This period was, though, a time of particularly high emigration from Germany (overpopulation in some states, fear of being caught up in Prussia's wars against Denmark, Austria and France), and Queensland's immigration program benefited from this.[2]

Johann Christian Heussler

Prominent figure to German Settlement in Queensland is Johann Heussler, immigration agent (who later became a member of the Legislative Council of Queensland). [3]

Johann Christian Heussler, 1898.

In 1885, two Lutheran (German) groups formed in Queensland, namely, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Queensland, and the United German-Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Queensland.

Main Areas of Settlement in Queensland Can you add Profiles to these Categories? Can you improve existing Profiles?

Queensland Name Studies on WikiTree Can you add Profiles to these Name Studies? Can you improve existing Profiles? Start a new name study?

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  3. 'Heussler, Johann Christian (John) (1820–1907)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 May 2019.

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Not sure if this is the right place to post this message so please re-direct me if there is a more appropriate place for it.

I’ve recently started researching my German ancestors and have hit a snag with the first of them to come out in 1887. His name was Henri Gustav August Roze and he ended up on a farm at Djuan, 50 km north of Toowoomba. There are several things I am working on with Henri, and one of these is I’m trying to work out the circumstances surrounding why and how he came to Australia because he was only 16 years old at the time he arrived. And, as far as I can make out, he came without family.

I noted in the passenger list that Henri emigrated with Free Nominated status. That may just mean he was recruited in Germany or it could mean that someone in Toowoomba arranged for him to come over - so, there was family or known persons here already. So, the first thing I’d like to ask is, would there be any records available that would enable me to find out the circumstances related to his passage here, if someone arranged it and if so who etc?

The second thing I hoping you may be able to help with is - would there be a record of all the German residents in the Toowoomba/ Darling Downs area during the 1880s-1900 so that I could browse through to see if there are any possible family surnames that I could link to him?

Thanks for any ideas.

posted by Ian Perry
Have you looked at the other related pages for Prussian-German immigrants? This one may be helpful --
posted by Melanie Paul
Hi Ian, I have just read this message.

From my family connection I am far more familiar with the migration of German speakers to South Australia. However, I know there are few members of Wikitree that have similar family background to yours. More than one is interested in researching the migrants that settled at Toowoomba and Darling Downs. I will see if I can assist the group collect information.

Best wishes, Steve Thomas.

posted by Steve Thomas
edited by Steve Thomas
Thanks Steve, I'd appreciate if you could help putting me in touch with the Queensland members.

All the best, Ian

posted by Ian Perry
Ian, my first step was to add you as a member of the team Prussian Settlement in Australia - German_Australians. You can edit this page to remove your name if you want to.

If you leave your name on this page it would be helpful if you can add any notes about where Henri came from and which ship he came on. I'll start looking for the passenger lists of 1887 ships. I'll start by assuming that he migrated with some friends and family.

posted by Steve Thomas
edited by Steve Thomas
Hi Steve:

He was the first in the family to come to Australia ... I think. He was followed about 14 years later in 1901 by his sister and her two children, and his mother. There possibly could have been family or people known to the family when he arrived at age 16 which is what I'm keen to investigate further and hoping someone in the group might have some onformation about.

He arrived in Brisbane on 11 Jan 1887 on the "Merkara" from Hamburg via London (departed 16 Nov 1886) aged 16. Name listed as Henry Roye.

The surnames in the family are Roze, Ulrich and Illguth.

posted by Ian Perry
Cheers Ian. I am going to look for passengers on Merkera.
posted by Steve Thomas
I've found the ship. The following Wikitree category shows a similar mail run:
posted by Steve Thomas
Hi Steve:

Henri landed one year prior to that run. I have a pdf of the front page of the passenger list for that 1887 trip and his entry on page 17 of that list but I don't think I can send that to you via this messaging system can I?

posted by Ian Perry
No worries or rush. I should be able find a passenger list I can work with tomorrow.

Please note this example:

Existing Wikitree profiles are underlined.

posted by Steve Thomas
edited by Steve Thomas

I am interested in any information pertaining to Christian Batzloff, his wife Caroline Rogo (Rogge) and their Daughter Wlhelmine Erdman - Husband Frederick Erdman. They may have travelled from Prenzlau, Uckermark, Brandenburg on the Cesar Godeffroy vessel arrived c1864; how they came to be at Westbrook and Toowoomba surrounds. Did they own land or were labourers? Also it is understood that Wilhelmine remarried to Christina Werner. But I am more interested in the Batzloff/Erdman family from which I am most likely a descendant. Kind regards, Julie

posted by Julie McKee
edited by Julie McKee
There was a Bill Batzloff used to live in our street in Spring Hill back in the 70s I think it was. Any relation?
posted by Ian Perry
Hi Julie

Christian Batzloff was my 3x Great Grandfather. I understand that Christian and his family initially came to Roma, Queensland, but some of the family then moved to the Toowoomba region. Christian's son, William stayed in Roma where he married and raised a family. William's son, Charles Batzloff was my Great Grandfather. Charles also lived out his life in Roma. Charles married there and had 2 children, one of whom was my Grandfather, Vivian James Batzloff. I have a few bits and pieces of information about the family and am happy to share anything I have that may be of interest. I am very new to Wikitree and just learning how it all works. I'd love to hear from you anytime. My email address is [email address removed] Kind regards Judy Park

posted by Judy (Clare) Park
Thank you for this information Judy. I have sent a private message. It would appear we are distant relatives. My connection is via Christian Batzloff's daughter Whilhelmina. I look forward to further correspondence with you. Kind regards, Julie
posted by Julie McKee
Great to hear from you Julie. I will reply to your private message and look forward to sharing information about our family connections. Kind regards, Judy.
posted by Judy (Clare) Park
Really just an observation - there seems to be a strong German influence south of the mouth of the Logan River, my father recounted a local story that a migrant ship had put them ashore there. They farmed immediately and took the produce into Brisbane for their first income. Most of the old graves in Pimpama Island cemetery are of early Germans.


posted by Geoffrey Raebel
I have yet to hear from the Lutheran Church contact regards the family who were to email me. I will follow up on that when I get a chance.
posted by Melanie Paul
I was taking a break from the 5-star thing I was doing and decided to do my 3-greats grandparents and kids. Thought they'd only lost a couple of babies, but it turns out they lost SIX (out of 12). I still have a couple of profiles to do for those babies. (The surviving kids can wait, as I still need to track down marriages and their kids.) Then it's back to my England Project thing for another several profiles .. with the Source-a-Thon in the middle of that.

I will recheck my contact with that Gympie church, though .. see if there is any further news on that front. (I can't remember if he has my email or not.)

posted by Melanie Paul
Thanks Mel,

Your work is greatly appreciated! I too have been busy so a bit quiet, but hope to get back to it soon as I can.

Kind regards, Kylie

posted by Kylie Haese
I have not stopped work on this .. I have just been sidelined by some stuff I'm doing for the England Project .. and also some of my own family lines (both maternal and paternal), which also happen to be in England.

I did hear back from someone from the Gympie church I contacted. I just need to be patient as they are not directly involved, but are essentially acting as a go-between.

posted by Melanie Paul
Very interesting page. Well done!
posted by Steve Thomas
Great work on this page!
posted by [Living Turner]
I have PM'd Maryann and invited her to join our team. I think her interest and knowledge could be very helpful for us. I also proposed the merge. :)
posted by Kylie Haese
Did you? Sorry but I wasn't paying much attention to emails/WikiTree at that time.
I have added some information and some images. I have linked the wikipedia page for Johann Christian Heussler to his name in the text, but if someone could see if he is on wikitree and if not create a profile for him and link it to this page that would be great.


I need a break now lol but will do the merge very soon :)

posted by Kylie Haese
Perhaps a merge would be a good idea. I am a bit busy at the moment but, will look at it in more detail later on :)
posted by Kylie Haese
Kylie, Anne,

Kylie's found treasure: Is much more than a page that should be merely linked to this space (Prussian_and_German_Settlement_in_Queensland).

Somehow, I hope that the two can be merged into a single space. Otherwise the two spaces will end up duplicating 90% of the same information. Starting with the list of ships.

Can you discuss the possibility of a merge with Maryann?

Regards, Steve

posted by Steve Thomas