At host 'deadsetfreestuff' - Nil update since December 2007:  Commenced 15 September 2007 (split May 2010).


Since April 2011, updates only done at


Product of assorted enquiries and reading backwards by the writer along his mother's lineage.

Any error notifications or additional information or thoughts on people,

places or events mentioned herein would be much appreciated.

Please send to  john.mail "@"




Arriving via the ship Gottorp - 1857

( One passenger, Samuel F.C. Kirchner, later wrote back to Germany that the voyage to Australia

   had been very troublesome.  Many persons were crowded into this relatively small sailing ship. )



Christian Steiner appears to have been the first German of this surname to have reached New South Wales (Australia).

He came on the ship Gottorp (above), probably with the woman Elizabeth he married soon afterwards at Mulgoa.  But

we cannot know for sure if she was aboard, as it seems no authority in Sydney recorded the immigrants' names:



Photo of the Gottorp above kindly supplied via relative in Germany, Mrs Monika Vesely who applied to the Museum in

Brake and obtained this picture (The Gottorp was built probably at Brake on the Weser River, near Bremer).



( My Steiners from Germany )








Eselshalden - fountain and information plaque (Photo:  Peter Fohr, 2007)

Eselshalden was settled in 1722 or 1723 and the first Steiners 

arrived there some years after that.




( Ancestor of the writer's mother, Doreen Phyllis Byrnes , nee Steiner )

[Christian Steiner now lies at grave Number 3 of Row 25 in Presbyterian section 1a

 of the Wagga Wagga Monumental Cemetery - marked "Farewell wife & children".]




A few generations back our Steiners spoke only German but it is dubious if my Grandfather understood any, or if any of the Steiners in his day living at Wagga Wagga still understood German.

This writer can barely understand German even with benefit of automated translation.  Thus where I am not confident, or uncertain, about translation, some fragments of German are included along with the translation.

My mother's Steiner family is 'German' and we always knew that but by the time I came along Christian Steiner's name was likely forgotten in immediate family, as was where he came from.   To begin with, nobody I knew had any precise idea where the Steiners had come from in Germany.   Decades later there was some idea that they came from near 'Steinberg', and/or that the name itself might even so derive.   This proved not to be correct, but it was 'close', as they came from near not Steinberg but Steinenberg.

As some records began to turn up it became know that this family of Steiners was from Elselshalden.

But where on earth was Eselshalden?

The writer is grateful to Gary Luke (who first pointed out to me where Elselshalden is located), and especially to councillor Peter Fohr who is representative of Steinenberg in the Rudersberg city administration which is now the local government district for Steinenberg ("Ortschaftsrat in Steinenberg und Gemeinderat in Rudersberg"; "Steinenberg ist eingemeindet worden von Rudersberg" as they say in German).

Councillor Peter Fohr seems to understand my Australian and I seem to adequately understand his German.  Happier still was that he very kindly photographed Eselshalden and to him goes thanks for the photos of the place herein.

The other person to much help me understand "these Germans" was Ms Jenny Paterson of Croydon who is a long-standing Australian expert on the migration of SW Germans to Eastern Australia pre 1890. 

Ms Paterson probably had greater faith in my ability to understand all this than is actually so, and she very kindly supplied me with advice and a large amount of useful background information about how thousands of SW Germans came to Australia in the 1800s.  It was she also who suggested that "Eselshalden" may not come from the Halde usual meaning of 'waste heap' but from another meaning of the word as 'sloping ground, declivity, slope' ~ otherwise the ancestors might be coming from the less glamorous place name translation of donkeys' poo pile.

It was also Jenny who suggested the interesting idea that Christian and the woman he married at Mulgoa more likely than not came here as a couple.  There were many examples of people who were engaged or de facto married who did not formally marry till after leaving their homeland - this being related to harshly restrictive marriage laws in SW Germany.  Such legislation was apparently 'social engineering' of the times, designed to hopefully slow the increase in numbers of the poor (but such laws did not greatly slow down people having children and they were abolished in the 1860s).

Thanks also due to Br. Moy Hitchens of the Christian Brothers, which congregation now owns the property "Winbourne" on which Wombat Creek is situated.  Br. Moy gave us (my wife and myself) a very knowledgeable tour of Wombat Creek and its environs.

Christian Steiner was born in Eselshalden in Württemberg and he emigrated on the ship Gottorp in 1857 to new work at Mulgoa.  Where he is believed to have most likely lived at Mulgoa is today called Wombat Creek (likely a later name).  This is a short creek that comes off the Lapstone Monocline which froms the western edge of Sydney's Cumberland Plains, and rapidly empties into the Nepean River.  

Due to slight misspellings ('Steinberg' instead of Steinenberg') in Australian records, and the abundance of place names with Stein (stone) in them, exactly where Christian Steiner was born, which is Eselshalden near Steinenberg, was not learned of till September 2007.  Eselshalden is now under the local government area of the town or city of Weizhelm, and contacting them: "Some years after Oktober 1723, when the first habitants lived in Eselshalden, a family named Steiner from Krähenof settled down in Eselshalden" (Information received on 19 September 2007 from Stadt Welzheim.) 

Why was "Eselshalden" so named, and what does the name 'mean'?   Literally it looks like donkey on waste heaps ("Halde" is a waste heap).  However it is understood that a subsidiary meaning of "Halde" might also be 'small hill' regardless of whether or not the hill or mound is composed of waste material. 

In the 1800s many hundreds of Germans came to Australia to fulfil a need for farm labour, under various schemes of assisted passage.  Many were vinedressers.  In the years 1849-1856 the Colony of New South Wales paid financial assistance (known as the Bounty) for the importation of over 800 such German families.  These were recruited mainly from the wine growing districts of SW Germany.  Information for this webpage was obtained from a a number of persons, as mentioned herein.  Particularly extensive is the work of Ms Jenny Paterson (see references below) on SW Germans who came to Eastern Australia pre-1890.  Paterson has published many papers on German immigration, in Ances-tree, the journal of the Burwood & District Family History Group (formerly the Burwood-Drummoyne & Districts FHG) and other place.  She has visited southwest Germany to look at resources there (Paterson, 1992).  The initial and changing conditions of the assisted immigration scheme is described in Paterson (2007a).   Well over a million people emigrated in the 19th century alone from SW Germany.  Patterson (2007c) gives detailed help on how to use and understand the website: "Emigration from Southwest Germany" - Auswanderung aus Südwestdeutschland at

Some interest in this exists at Ashfield-Croydon in the Inner West of Sydney, where at least a few of the immigrants or descendants came to live.  It's from this area that this webpage comes.   It is to be hoped that it will be found by descendants of Christian Steiner elsewhere, who may then add to the story of this line of Australian Steiners.

That Christian Steiner was born in Eselshalden was learned of by the writer only in September 2007.  Also recorded is an application from a Jakob Steiner to emigrate from Eselshalden to Peru in 1852 with his wife and five children.  Elselshalden at the time was probably only a tiny village and this confirms that there was a Steiner family living there.  Christian and Jakob are probably closely related.  The church records have been filmed by the Mormons and so the next intended step in the backwards search will be to go to the LDS geneology centre just north of Parramatta and begin the search for the family records on film.  The Steinenberg pastor's house was built in 1461. 

This webpage was commenced on the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the good ship Gottorp, at Sydney Harbour on 15 September 1857.

Jenny Paterson believed that Christian Steiner probably emigrated with a betrothed wife, Elisabetha Rheinhard, because this was something which happened a lot at the time.  This was because of the restrictive marriage laws then in force in the German states, especially in the southern states.  A marriage licence, and other demands, had been made quite expensive and some couples could not afford the expense.   It is believed that this was intentional policy, to stop or retard the poor expanding in numbers.  These laws effectively restricted the issue of a marriage licence to those who could show evidence of a certain level of means and were able to pay out the substantial amounts necessary for the man's citizenship status in the town and the marriage licence (Paterson, 2007b).  Betrothed couples often emigrated together and got married after arrival (although not necessarily straight away).  The repressive laws were removed in SW Germany ca. 1862, as they had caused a large rise in illegitimacy and complication of records-keeping (Paterson, 2007b).  Paterson gives the example of Johann Marquard who arrived with his wife Anna Maria Fünkner and one child in Sydney as an assisted passage vinedresser aboard the Triton in 1853.  Unable to marry because of poverty, Johann have been afforded "temporary citizenship" upon showing willingness to emigrate, allowing marriage, but which citizenship then had to be renounced.  His community supported the emigration with a payment of 20 gulden and agreement to pay for a replacement should Johann be called for military service whilst his name was still on the call-up list (till age 25 was passed).  It was necessary to get Johann and Anna Maria married in order to qualify under the NSW government Bounty regulations which said the men had to be married and have skills not obtainable from Britain - specifically vinedressers and wine coopers.  Prior to the arrangement worked out for Johann and Anna Maria, the NSW agent for the Bounty in Germany, Wilheim Kirchner, had sought to jump the hoops of regulatory requirements by having ships' captains marry couples during the voyage to Australia.  Hence on the 4th February 1849, Captain Struben at sea on the Beulah, carried out a mass marriage of ten couples in the name of the Heavenly Father and blessed with the sign of the cross, after the couples made the traditional vows.  One man who had beaten his bethrothed the Captain refused to marry, but instead beat this man and threatened to maroon him.  Later on, when that particular man improved the Captain married them too and blessed their baby.  Unfortunately, New South Wales authorities took a dim view of these proceedings when they learned of them.  More ships arrived (Parland, Harmony, Balmoral) on which the shipboard marriages had been enacted, and at this stage the NSW Attorney General advised such immigrants to also go through church service marriage here.  Also, agent Kirchner was held to be in breach of regulations, because he had not been recruiting men who were already married, as per the requirements of the NSW Colonial government.  But in another sense the men were married de facto but could not afford the legitimisation costs demanded by the SW German administration.  Kirchner tried to talk the NSW government into seeing things his way, and a compromise was reached that the bounty was paid for those who had no more than one baby, but apparently the bounty was never paid on the couples who had older children and were unmarried.  Mr Kirchner also stated that some of the couples unable to obtain Government permission to marry had been formally given away in Church which would be ecclesiatically valid marriage although not recognised by the Government as legal (Paterson, 2007b).      


It could be interesting that both Christian and Elizabeth were buried by Presbyterian ministers.  Their own religion is unknown but some of these early Germans reaching Sydney did select Presbyterian marriage.  After the Wilhelm Kirchner arrived in Sydney in September 1858, fourteen shipboard couples were immediately married by Presbyterian minister, Rev. John Dunmore Lang.  The service was conducted in German, agreeable to the forms of the Evangelical Church of Germany.  This is thought likely to have been the Protestant denomination that the Steiners could have identified with.


Referring to this mass Presbyterian marriage of German new arrivals, The Sydney Morning Herald of 23 September 1858 wrote: "It seems that to persons of the humbler walks of life intending to emigrate from Germany, the cost of a regular marriage is so great, and the difficulties interposed by the paternal governments of that country are so many and so insurmountable that poor people in such circumstances cannot get married at all, and they have therefore to leave home on a mere mutual promise of betrothal!" 

The Bounty scheme time was a time in Australia that wine-making was on the rise but farm labour was getting harder to obtain for various reasons - one major reason being the Gold Rush and the effect this had in drawing men away from  farming activities.  Wilhelm Kirchner (Karl Ludwig Wilhelm Kirchner) was the main agent involved in this, acting for the government of the Colony of New South Wales and for a time also for Queensland.   The Gottorp in 1857 was the last transport of Germans to reach Australia under Kirchner's arrangements.  The great boom that had been making the English-speaking countries so attractive to Germans wanting prospects of a better life bubble-burst in a rapidly spreading financial panic that commenced in New York in late 1857, and Kirchner returned to Australia the following year.

Luckily much has been found out about the vineyard site where Christian came to work, at Wombat Creek a tiny creek that flows off the Lapstone Monocline almost straight into the Nepean River at Mulgoa.  That this information was readily obtainable has much to thank for the current owners of the land there, the Christian Brothers, who have taken a very commendable attitude to preserving and interpreting the land and the knowledge of the past.   No trace at all now remains or can be recognised of the actual vineyard, but the overseer's stone cottage has been beautifully restored by the Brothers (photos and story below).  There are a couple of laid stones that are possibly remains of the corner of some other building nearby.  Fancifully that could have been where the Steiner family grew, or they could have lived in a hut somewhere else nearby.  There is no evidence on that.

Steiner was contracted to work at the Cox vineyard for two years.  After that, higher wages elsewhere may have beckoned and the family set off south, eventually re-settling in Wagga Wagga which would likely be the region of New South Wales where most of the descendants of Christian Steiner and his German wife Elizabeth Rheinhardt would now be found.  The writer's line of descent comes from the marriage of a Steiner son in Wagga Wagga to a daughter of the Clouts.  The senior man in the Clout line was cellar master of the Macarthur family at Camden Park, also on the Nepean River and also of assisted passage migrant farm-worker history.

Little research has been done Christian Steiner's birthplace of Eselshalden, as it was only learned quite recently (in September 2007) that he was born at this place.

Also very little research has been done yet on the places the family of Christian and Elizabeth Steiner went to after they left Mulgoa, however an outline of this is given herein for anyone else who wishes to follow up on it.  

Also given herein are all known basic facts on children etc., as derived from documentation found so far in Australia.  Other relatives should have further such material.

The German record states that Christian was born in Eselshalden and applied to emigrate in the district of "wlz" (abbrev.).  If that abbreviation means Welzeim, the district that Elselshalden is in, then it suggests that Christian had lived all his life in the area where he had been born, before setting off on such a large vogage.

This webpage was commenced and uploaded on 15 September 2007, 150 years from when the ship Gottorp, transporting immigrant German rural workers, arrived in Sydney harbour.  The ship carried some paying passengers but most of those aboard were under arranged contract and were recorded by Sydney Harbour authorities only as "Germans".  Some attempt was made to locate descendants of these people in Sydney, with a thought to trying to arrange for some memorial dinner or commemoration.  Various historical and German interest groups were contacted with this in mind.  However without any readily findable record of the immigrants' first and second names, finding descendants of the Gottorp's "Germans" could be difficult.  Even though it seems very likely that some descendants of these men and women who came on the Gottorp might be living in the Sydney region today, none were found and hence no commemoration of the Gottorp's arrival 150th by means of any getogether was possible.  Potentially sopme per-Gottorp Germans who could have still-in-Sydney descendants would include Johann Georg Biehler who went to Horsley [current Horsley Park], Johann Klippart who went to Parramatta, Johann Meyer who lived in Sydney, Peter Ritter who went to Kogarah, August Weddig who resided at North Shore, Johann Heinrich Witte who went to Ashfield, and Samuel Christian Kirchner who went to Ashfield (information on individuals traced by Jenny Paterson).  No 150th anniversary was possible, nor is it known if any 100th anniversary was commemorated, or anything else like that.   At present, the largest KNOWN concentration of Gottorp descendants in the Sydney region, although still not a large number, is at Ashfield and immediately surrounding suburbs in Sydney's Inner West.  Christian Steiner's descendant Cecil also returned to Ashfield, as manager of the Kings Theatre there, and lived at Ashfield and Croydon.  Steiners descended from Cecil lived at nearby Croydon Park.  However, most of the Gottorp voyagers may have left much larger clusters of descendants in regional centres as they were basically country-bound folk, not city-siders. 

Although the idea for some 150th commemoration wasn't feasible, making contact with the German/historical interests groups that this entailed did throw up many more leads which can be followed for more information - and above all it produced the record that Christian had been born at Elselshalden.  That record of Christian is on a CD of emigration lists from the state of Württemberg:

Christian Steiner, born 12 Sep 1813 in Eselhalden, applied in May 1857 in the district of Wlz. [abbreviation for Welzheim] to emigrate to Australia.


This record, from the seven volume Wuerttemberg Emigration Index (volume 5), gives a wrong spelling, as 'Eselhalden'.  It should be Eselshalden.  If so, the record then tallies perfectly with information already recorded within Australia, including that Christian was from "Wurtenberg" and had been born on 12 September.  The Australian-recorded birthplace also was in slight error as "Steinberg", which should be "Steinenberg" as the map below shows:


The slight errors of Eselhalden for Eselshalden, and Steinberg for Steinenberg, meant that trying to find the required birthplace of Christian as a Steinberg/Eselhalden proximity-combination was not working out - since there are numerous Steinberg (stone mountain) names in Germany and also various Eselhalden 'donkey' places in both Germany and Switzerland, yet none of which could be potentially right because of the initial slight errors in both the German and Australian records on Christian's birthplace.  Luckily Gary Luke solved the problem in one hit by finding the right place in Welzheim district or Welzheim forest (Welzeim Wald).   






Mapping the diverse German states of the 1800s has been described by one writer as being like "something created by a roomful of young children left to play with the contents of a paint shop".  There were at different times up to thirty-nine different independant entities.  The Eselshalden area is located close northeast of Stuttgart on the following map.



The early German states as they were in 1815.


My thanks are due to various Australian German/history groups and individuals who responded to recent requests for information with all sorts of leads, mostly not yet followed up on.  In particular, Mr Gary Luke is thanked for finding the German record indicating that Christian was born at Eselshalden, near Steinenberg, and also for providing the above map of the locality.  Ms Jenny Paterson in particular has given me many "leads" that can be further followed up on.  Mr John Goswell sent me information on the practices of seeking early German immigrants with wine-making skills.  Ms Paterson, who for more than 25 years has been been researching mid-19th century German immigration into NSW,  notes that Eselshalden is now part of the council town of Welzheim in the Rems-Murr-Kreis of Baden-Württemberg.  Formerly, in the Kingdom of Württemberg, it was in the Welzheim Oberamt (administration district).  


Little hope had actually been held of finding Christian Steiner's birthplace for certain.  Even though it was known as "Steinberg" it was thought that this might be a fairly common descriptive term (since most mountains are made of stone!) rather than a unique geographic place.   Also, untold millions of German/European books and records were destroyed during World War II and it was known that all the early port emigration records were destroyed for where the Gottorp left from.  All emigrants departing from Bremen were recorded by the city authorities, however the records were  destroyed as the greater part of that city was lost to fire in WWII, in 1945.  State and provincial records of people may survive but Christian Steiner is not findable on the main Baden-Württemberg emigration website - hence it is considered very fortunate that has did turned up in other Wuerttemberg emigration records.


The website Auswanderung aus Südwestdeutschland at does not find the Christian Steiner who went to Australia in 1857.  It reports one Christrian Steiner who emigrated in 1854 to North America, last place of residence Altensteig; one Christian Friedrich Steiner who went to Australia in 1854 , last place of residence Zweiflinger; another, Johann Jakob Steiner, who left Oberstenfeld in 1867 for Australia.  Overall this database shows that 119 Steiner surname persons left SW Germany overall.  Mostly they went to North America.  One, Jakob Steiner who left Welzheim district in 1852 for Peru, was domiciled in Eselshalden.  


One of the earliest known Steiners, who just might be connected, is Ulrich Steiner of Lorch who died in 1590.  In the ensuing years there were apparently many Steiners in this area.   Lorch is a small town situated on the river Rems (see map below),  8 km west of the city (pop. 62,000) of Schwäbisch Gmünd which is on the northern foot of the the  Swabian Jura Mountains (Swabian Alb).   This 'Alb' is plateau-like.  The northwestern edge is a steep escarpment (called the Albtrauf or Albanstieg, rising up 400 m and covered with forests), while the top is generally flat or gently hilly.



Map of Wurttemburg kingdom area as it existed in 1810-1945.



Illustrating the use of the term "Swabian Forest"



Swabia, about 962 AD.   Note Wurtemberg, on the Neckar River,

near the later Stuttgart.



Germany about 962 AD.    The Swabian Alb is here labelled as Swabian Jura.

It was flanked along the northern edge by Franconia.




Swabian Alb running north of and parallel to the Donau River, NE to Nordlingen.



The Steinenberg - Eselshalden - Welzheim area is east of Steinheim and between the 

rivers Kocher and Rems.  It is on Triassic sandstone which dip south beneath the

Jurassic calcareous sequence of the Swabian Alb.  Note Ulm to the south, which 

is where stone from the quarry near Eselshalden was taken for the Cathedral.




Showing relationship of the Swabian Alb area (Jurassic limestones and oolitic ironstone) to the Swabian forest (Schwarzwald) area situated to the NW of it (Keuper and Muschelkalk strata),

from Geyer and Gwinner (1991)


The German word ”Alb” comes apparently from the Celtic word alpis, which means a nurturing mountain. ”Swabian” comes from the Germanic Suevi tribe (who settled on the Rhine and Neckar during Julius Caesar’s time). The Romans occupied this area between 15 BC and AD 260, after which the Germanic (Alemannic) tribes appeared.  As Christianity spread in the 6th century, the area began to be integrated into the Frankish empire.  Hohenstaufen, Zähringer, Württemberger and Hohenzollern were great imperial and ruling dynasties that sprang from the Swabian Alb.   The region has some of mankind’s oldest artworks (30,000 years old), the world’s highest church steeple (Ulm Cathedral), remains of the Limes, the German frontier wall, Celtic centres of cult worship, and churches from every epoch.







The Duchy of Swabia
(10th to 12th Centuries A.D.)

The Duchy of Swabia is to a large degree comparable to the territory of the "Alemands" Germans and the Suevi (Sueben or Swabians) tribe belonged to Alemands.   For the Germanic peoples from the 9th century on, in place of the area designation "Alemania" came the name "Schwaben" (Swabia).  However the French neighbors to this day call all Germans "Allemands."

The early empire of the Germans was rarely much unified and alway consisted of various tribes of differing inclination: the Lorrainers, Saxons, Franks, Bavarians and Swabians.  At their heads were cheifs later called 'dukes'.  Any aspiring German high king had to gain recognition and support from all the the individual tribes.  Often the tribal duchies were themselves termed "regna," i.e. "kingdoms" in their own right.  The dukes were in turn dependent on recognition by leading noblemen within their own tribal territory. 

Rarely if ever were borders firmly known without uncertain sections or gaps where the territory was in dispute.  What can one rely to speak of the Duchy of Swabia?

One basis might be territory of the Alemands, who firmly established themselves in the southwest in two thrusts (about 260 AD and in the 5th century).  The so-called Swabian-Franconian tribal border in the north is based on this concept. It served as a dialect border between the Alemanic-Swabian and the Frankish dialects for a long time thereafter.  In the southeast, the Lech was the border with the Bavarian tribe. Northern Switzerland also belonged to the Alemanic territory, but not Rhaetia, where Rhaeto-Romansch is still spoken today in the southern part. The Alemands also established themselves in Alsace, but this land did not always clearly belong to the Duchy of Swabia.



Eselshalden east of Steinenberg, where Christian Steiner was born in 1813 (or 1812?).



Eselshalden.  A quarry area just west of the village is prominent.



Eselshalden.  Closer view.



Quarry site west of Eselshalden, now filled in.   In this quarry sandstone of the Stubensandstein Formation,

Middle Triassic Keuper Group, was exploited.



Stubensandstein is commonly used for dry wall constructions in gardens.




Steinbruck, just west of Eselshalden.



Enlargement of the above in Google Earth, showing general appearance of the Swabian or Swabian-Frankish (Schwäbisch-Fränkischer) forest land.  Eselshalden is seen as a small tight N-S elongated cluster of houses that is situated where the road running west from

Breitenfürst gives a southwards bulge.  Just west of it is the village of Steinbruck and in the upper left corner is seen the town of Steinenberg (where Eselshalden births used to be registerd).  Blue dot just north of Eselshalden is Stebinger Hut (see the

enlargement below).  Sharp regular pattern south of Steinbruck/Eselhalden is an abandonned Army depot.



Enlargement of Eselshalden, suggesting there are about

23 habitations there today.




Eselshalden street and the history plaque at the fountain (Photos: Peter Fohr)






Eselshalden was an uninhabited forested area up until 1722, when Konrad Bez settled there.  Bez had been a citizen of Steinenberg, till 1791.  (Der Hof "Eselshalden" fing 1722 zu existieren an, vorher war es "Wald in den Eselshalden" Der 1. Bewohner soll gewesen sein, Konrad Bez bis 1721 Bürger von Steinenberg.)


From the above (from church records per a contact of Peter Fohr's) it appears that the settlement of Eselshalden commenced in ca. 1722.  According to information received from Stadt Welzheim it was "Oktober 1723" when the first inhabitants of Eselshalden began living there; and some years after that a family named Steiner from Krähenof settled down in Eselshalden.  


The size of the settlement in the 1800s, or how many Steiners may have been there is unknown at present.

But around the mid 1800s there must have been for some reason a considable exodus of them.  Emigration records indicate that  Besides Christian, 4 others left, mostly destined for Austria:


Gottlieb Steiner. Born: 15 June 1811 - Edelshalden.  Applied: Feb 1846. Destination: Austria.

Johann Gottlieb Steiner. Born:: 13 May 1839 - Edelshalden. Applied: Feb 1846. Destination: Austria. 

Margaretha Katharina Steiner. Born: 4 Nov 1840 - Edelshalden. Applied: Feb 1846. Destination: Austria.

Anna Maria Steiner. Born:: 30 Dec 1842  - Edelshalden. Applied: Feb 1846. Destination: Austria.

The three children presumably left in the care of the 35 year old Gottlieb Steiner.


And earlier Gottlieb Steiner is known who was born in Eselshalden in (est.) 1805:

Johann George married Ursula Közle on 11 NOV 1872 in Holzheim, Danube Circle, Wurttemberg.  The had 16 children.  Information in this case, going back to Eselshalden came from:

Title: Holzheim Kirchenbuch, 1559-1927.
Author: Evangelische Kirche Holzheim (OA. Göppingen).

Publication: Stuttgart: Ev. Landeskirchenamt, 1972.


Thus in all, nine Steiners are known of in Eselshalden in the early 1800s.


Following backwards from the information from Stadt Welzheim that some years after 1723 when  Eselshalden began a family named Steiner came there from "Krähenof" this is possibly the early farm area called also Kreehenhof near Steinenberg where indeed there is evidence that many Steiners lived.   One recorded lineage is that an Ulrich Steiner of Lorch married Ursula Wieland, and died 1590. His son Georg Steiner was born about 1665.  He in turn had a son Christoph Steiner, who was born about 1613 in Alfdorf.  One of his descendants, Jerg Steiner married Anna Barbara Müller from Welzheim.  His son Jonas Steiner, born in 1723, entered service as woodworker on the "Kreehenhof" next Steinenberg.


Note that this is the same year that Eselshalden arose, so where is Krehenhof?  Gazeteers list it as being at lat. 47.8000000, long. 9.5333333.    That is way south of Stuttgart and cannot be near Steinenberg, so the Steinenberg one must be a much more local name(?).   Trying it as variants " Krähenof", "Krähenhof" or "Kreenhoff" finds other places so named, but not near Steinenberg.   However, after Jonas Steiner, born 1723, entered service as woodworker on the "Kreehenhof" farm he in 1750 he married into the farm community.  His wife was Anna Catharina Kengetter (Köngeter).  Their son Johannes Steiner, born 1755, was recorded as farmer of the Krehenhof. His eldest son Jung (junior) Johannes Steiner married Rosine Hof from Walkersbach on the Krehenhof in 1798.  They had 10 children.  Their son Johann Georg Steiner, born on the Krehenhof in 1809, married Anna Katharina Schurr (from Waldhausen near Lorch) in Steinenberg in 1832.  

Fide Paul Hoefer of there is also found from transcribing the churchbooks of D-73547 LORCH (close by Stuttgart in Wuerttemberg), in the 17th and 18th century, a well known family with the name Steiner at that time in the area.

Steinenberg was in former times the (church) administrative centre for Eselshalden.  But nowadays both church and municpal matters for Eselshalden are administered by the town of Welzheim.  The still-larger administrative district (Kreis) is currently called Rem-Murr. (Steinenberg war früher kirchlich an Steinenberg angeschlossen.  Nun gehört es kirchlich und städtisch zu Welzheim.  Eselshalden gehört zum Landkreis Rems-Murr Kreis.)

As to the question of what 'Halde' may have meant in the case of whoever first named Eselshalden, this is not yet know for certain.  The little hills meaning of 'Halde' could fit as one local description of Eselshalden today calls it a place of between 1-6 houses each clumped on little hills.  The total number of buildings at Eselshalden is not great.

But equally there may also have been waste heaps in the vicinity as just east of Eselshalden is a light coloured scar which is easily picked on Google Earth.  In the image above it is the light area on the southern side of the road that is between Eselshalden and Steinbruck.  Peter Fohr  information that out of this quarry came stone used for building the Ulm 'Cathedral', which has the largest church tower in the world.  The extracted stone was transported ca. 100 km to Ulm, using ox-carts and perhaps also using donkeys.  Or donkeys may have worked in the quarry.  The village of Steinbruck likely owes its origin to the quarry.  (Westlich von Eselshalden ist ein Steinbruch der nun zugeschüttet wurde. Ausdiesen Steinbruch wurden zum Erbau des Ulmer Münsters, größter Kirchturm der Welt, Steine gebrochen und mit Ochsenkarren vielleicht auch mit Eseln nach Ulm transportiert ca. 100 km. Oder die Esel arbeiteten im Steinbruch. Unterhalb von Eselshalden ist der Kleine Ort Steinbruck, kommt von Steinbruch.)

Ulm Cathedral is that the tallest stone structure in the world and with the change of construction methods possibly nothing like it will ever be built again.  The stones were all carved and placed by human hands over many generations, most of the workers knowing that they would never live to see the completion of the structure.

Ulm was destroyed by bombing in 1944-1945, as were other cities. 

Stuttgart, 1945

At first Württemberg was a place others fled to as bombing of Germany accelerated and even medium-sized towns in the north and west of Germany were being pre-emptively evacuated.  But southern Germany did not remain safe from air raids.  Stuttgard, for example, was almost totally destoyed and suffered 53 bombing raids.  Even purely cultural sites were earmarked for destruction and little remained in the end of a once lovely city but rubble and death.  The bombing levelled 60% of the building and generated 53 million cubic feet of rubble, which much of the standing shells so unsound as to need demolition.  The Landrat in Ulm saw this coming and declared in March 1944 that it was only a matter of time before Ulm was bombed.  This worst fear happened, and the heaviest air raid was on 17 December, 1944.  Bombing continued into 1945 and the centre of the city was further bombed by squadrons of the English and American bomb groups (91st Bomb Group; 379th and 384th Bombardment Groups; 303 BG/H) for four consecutive days on 1-4 March 1945, at the end of 14 consecutive days of bombing over Germany.  By 1945 time there was little or no effective counter-action from the Germans; planes could bomb at will and typically were returning safely to base.  By this time Ulm itself lay defenseless; mission diary notes of Sunday 4th March (Robert A. Alderman and others) recorded that no flak whatsoever was coming up from Ulm, although the planes were still being flakked as they crossed the Rhine River.  The rubble became so thick in Ulm that it was impossible to move or even walk through some parts of the city.  The war ended in April.  Ulm had become, for its size, the most heavily bombed city in southern Germany.  Ulm was 81% destroyed, with only 1,763 of its buildings surviving out of 12,756.  The Cathedral was lucky to fare so well.  Some say it was a "miracle".  One travel guide states that "the cathedral was saved from bombing during World War II largely because of the fog that surrounded the region of Ulm on a regular basis.  Because it was difficult to navigate the area from the air, the Allies found the cathedral too valuable a landmark to be destroyed".  Various other sources also state that it was being left standing as a landmark and navigational aid for the successive raids.  Even so it was still lucky not to have been hit in all the 'blind' bombing.  The ?final bombing, on 4 March 1945 was accomplished by Gee-H equipment and bombs were dropped 4000 feet higher than planned because of the covering clouds. 

One writer has written of it as: "the 500 year old Gothic cathedral stood weeping, towering above the grey hulk of yet one more city which had stood from before the middle ages".


Ulm 'Cathedral', and enlargement showing different colours of the stone blocks.   It was never a Cathedral in the sense of being the seat of a Bishop but is given this name on account of being

an architectural masterpiece.  It is 161.53m (530 ft) tall and the climb up via stairs is strenous and said to narrow to claustropic towards that top.  It was commenced in 1377 as the Ulm Citizens' Church but there was a very long period, between 1547 and the 19th century during which the building work was stalled.  Construction resumed in 1844 and was finished in 1890.  Jewish citizens of Ulm, including the father of Albert Einstein, contributed to it a statue of the prophet Jeremiah.  After its completion in 1890 it stood as the tallest building in the world,

until surpassed in 1901.  The current responsible architect for the mainteance of the 

Cathedral is Dr Mrs Rommel.  (Photos:  Google Commons)



Still from a 3D computer model of the Ulm Cathedral created by 27 year old student architect

at the University of Karlsruhe, Jan-Ruben Fisher.  


Inside the spire, showing the intricate lacework-like carved stone composition of very open construction, with an octagonal central core carrying the spiral stairs to the top; and close-up of stone.  (Photo taken 2004: Google Commons, added by 'Jessetrumpet45')

According to the tourist brochure "Swabian Alb.  The 7 keys to the Swabian Alb. Infoguide. Fascination Swabian Alb", Key No. 2 is "The Adventure of geology - Anyone who gets to the bottom of the Swabian Alb will find fantastic testimony to the most varied epochs of the Earth's history .. The entire Swabian Alb is basically one single geological theme park, a veritable 'Jurassic Park' (also has 350 volcanic vents, maars)".  It says that the Lower Jurassic sequence comprises dark limestone, clays, marl and oil shale; and that the Middle Jurassic has limestone and oolitic ironstone, and that "Ulm Cathedral was built using Middle Jurassic stone" (also cites the Donzdorf sanstone as a geological highlight.   (


Another source states that sandstone for the spire facade was quarried in Alsace as part of reparations to Germany after the Franco-Prussian War, which ended in 1871.    Just how much stone (if any) from the quarry between Eselshalden and Steinbruck went into the Cathedral is not yet known as no records on this quarry have yet been located.




Sandstone.  Top of the Geiststein pillar (Geiststein = Spirit Rock), the position of which is shown in the above Google Earth view (in lower right).  This large rock was the place of secret nightly meetings of the persecuted Anabaptists of the 1500s. The pine forest has owls and deer.  The massive sandstone rock is at a quiet and lonely mountaintop.  It is a pinnacle about fifteen feet high.  It bears a small metal plaque which was put there by the Evangelische Freikirchliche Gemeinden in 1968, and which translates as: "At this site in 1575 and following years the Anabaptists gathered from the nearby towns for worship during the night".


From the families of the master glassmakers named Greiner of Walkersbach, some leaders of this Anabaptist movement are recorded in documents.  The Greiners were a clan of three generations in this area.  Brothers Blasius and Andreas Greiner converted to Anabaptism in 1562.  From 1567 to 1569 the authorities imprisoned Blasius in the Maulbronn, a former monastery that had been turned into a prison. He escaped but was re-captured. He recanted his Anabaptist convictions to save himself but later retracted the recantation. Following a concerted attempt in 1598 these Anabaptists (antecedents of the Mennonites and Amish of North America) were entirely wiped out in this region from sustained persecution.  Other stories are that even earlier this rock was a cultic site of the pre-Christian Germanic religion.  Also, legend has it that this was a favourite hunting spot around 1800 of the Kurfürst King Friedrich of Württemberg. 


(Photo: David Rempel Smucker, Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society.  David ponders would a modern Mennonite "recant and give the police the GPS location of worship sites? ... The situation of religious freedom and economic security in which many North American

Anabaptists find themselves could reverse in a few years".)

The district consists of gently dipping Triassic arenaceous strata which underlie the gently south dipping Jurassic limestones sequence of the Swabian Alb to the south.  As seen here the rock is soft enough to construct a dug-out in.  (The Jüxhoele near Kallenberg)


The "Geo Naturpark" people of southwest Germany refer to the broad region as a cradle of civilisation.  Iron-making, from bean-sized concretionary ironstone gravel (Bohnerz), began in prehistoric times.  This would be in the Jurassic limestone region a little further south, the Swabian Alb.  That area was prone to impoverishment because the limestone lead to lack of surface water and families might have to make long daily rides by horseback to get water.  In the Triassic sandstone region further north there are more surface streams.


Welzheim was at the edge of the Roman empire.  It was on the Roman barrier wall called the Limes.  This was similar as the British Hadrian's Wall.  This wall ran southsoutheasterly, through Welzheim, until nearing the Swabian Alb.  It then turned to run northeasterly, parallel to the elongation of the Swabian Alb.  The wall was built to keep the savage hordes at bay outside of the Romanised or civilised areas.   However, all this region eventually had the Romans driven out by the local tribes.  It was about 260 AD that Germanic people overran and destroyed the Roman presence at Welzeim.  Evidence of the presence has since been restored at an archaeological precinct and annual Roman festival and related events occur at Welzeim.  The town or early 'city' was site of an early monastery (est. 1259 AD) and a castle.  Welzeim (first named "Wallenzin") has been a place of considerable sorrow - in recent history the site of the largest concentration camp in Württemberg, and earlier on devastated or all but wiped out more than once either by human events (war, fire) or by plague.  Up to 800 a year have died there (plague).   After destructions the town church was repeatedly rebuilt but the local castle (destroyed 1556 AD) was never rebuilt.  Local industry has included glassmaking (first glassworks established around 1500 AD near Cronhütte), metal-working fabrication industries, etc.  There is still glassmaking in Welzheim, although probably not with any direct connection to earlier glassmaking(?).  The population began to grow steadily after WWII: 4376 in 1950, 9000 in 1988, 11,000 by 1996.  For more of this writer's notes on history, click here:






Centre of Weizheim town



Currently Eselshalden belongs to Welzheim district.  Eselshalden was in the church parish of Steinenberg.  It is confirmed that the church books of Steinenberg also cover Eselshalden.  Therefore Steinenberg should be where his birth and baptism will be found recorded.  Further back in time Steinenberg, and probably Eselshalden as well, belonged to Oberamt Schorndorf, not Oberamt Welzheim.  Christian Steiner made his application to emigrate to Australia in Welzheim, and perhaps he was working in Welzheim at the time or else this is the place (larger than Steinenberg) where such applications had to be made.




Welzheim glass label


Welzheim today also manufactures glassware.  Pieces with the above label was offered for sale on eBay and elsewhere at high prices, saying that the Welzheim Wertarbeit Oertel has been in the same family for five generations (Oertel & Co. Kristallglas. owner - Petra Schütte, Reinharzer Str - 34, Welzheim).  However Johannes Oertel began a glass refinery in 1869 in Haida/Böhmen (today Noviboron) but in 1945 the family was driven out from the Tschechei and the enterprise expropriated.  Oertel reestablished the enterprise at Welzheim in 1946.  Hence pieces carrying the "Welzheim" label cannot be all that old.  The Welzheim Städtisches Museum contains various glass objects manufactured by Oertel.




THE SHIP "GOTTORP"  ( On which sailed Christian Steiner and maybe his wife-to-be to Australia)


In Australia it was family historian Barbara O'Neil (née  Kirchner) who first got the idea that the Gottorp sailing ship might have been named from Gottorpia castle.  It has not been confirmed yet that this was so, but if seems likely.  


Samuel Friedrich Christian Kirchner from Kochendorf (Bad Friedricshall, Württemberg) was on the Gottorp with Christian Steiner, and he settled (and died) at Ashfield.   Also of note, Wilhelm Kirchner who became Consul for Prussia in Australia and was instrumental in starting the 'bounty' scheme to bring German workers to settle in Australia was also from Kochendorf.


Barbara and Dennis O'Neill went over to Kochendorf  in 1997.   In the mid 1800s many German people came to Australia and a number of Kochendorf inhabitants were amongst them.  The O'Neill's found that there was a newspaper article there which documented some names, destinations and snippets of information on the various people who left the village of Kochendorf.   A translation of part of the newspaper article states "Samuel Kirchner, born in 1829 and his wife Catherina (sic) Knapp found employment in a village near Sydney.  He worked as a gardener.  Everything he heard about the voyage and the conditions in New South Wales he would attest to in his letters.  He earned very good, much better than he had in Kochendorf previously.  Soon after his arrival at Sydney, his both sons Schorsch and Schani are born in 1857 and 1858" (may be in error - as the 1857 born Schorch/George was born aboard ship?).   The town of Kochendorf has a collection of memorabilia regarding villagers who left for other countries, and in the Town Hall (Rat Haus) there are originals of two letters written by Samuel back to his family, dated 1858 and 1859.   A translation of these is below, and the Rat Haus was written to in 2011 to perhaps improve upon the translation.

Although the
actual 'evidence' is very sparse but what there is of it strongly suggests that the people who came of the Gottorp to Australia were soon glad they had made this decision. .... "We are healthy and strong, happy and satisfied".    The writing encourages more relatives to come.


Christian Steiner sailed to Sydney on the Gottorp.    So too perhaps did his wife-to-be Elizabeth Rheinhardt/Reinhard, although her entry into Australia has never been definitely tracked.  Current theory, developed by Monika Vesely (from emigration records that seem they might fit) is that Elizabeth was a widow who had first applied to emigrate to America (but maybe she met Christian and switched destination to Australia - this is still being worked on).


The Gottorp was built probably at Brake on the Weser River near Bremer.  Not far from Bremen in Schleswig, is "Gottorpia" or  "Gottorf Castle", home of the family who ruled Russia in the 18th century (Holstein-Gottorp branch of the House of Oldenburg); is now a museum.   This possibly was what the ship was named after(?):




Gottorpia is the castle shown at left.  (Source:  Garuanteed published in Cologne, 1572-1618 by BRAUN, G / HOGENBERG, F.)

"View of Schleswig and it's neighbor Gottorpia", then in Denmark but now Northern Germany.  "Gottorp" in Danish, "Gottorf" in German.



Gottorp 1864 



Gottorp 2007.  Today the State of Schleswig-Holstein Art and Cultural History Museum and the State Archeological Museum.

 (Photo:  H.H. Podracer)

On of the immigrants on the Gottorp was SAMUEL F.C. KIRCHNER (b.1829 Kochendorf, Germany - d.1904 Ashfield, NSW, Australia).   His life has been traced by descendant B. O'Neil ( bndoneil "@" ; ).


Samuel recorded that the voyage on the Gottorp had been very troublesome.  He settled at Ashfield, where coincidentally the current writer (descendent of another Gottorp arrival from Württemberg) was born.   He worked apparently at nearby Petersham, as a gardener.   Some time little later he got a house at Ashfield.  He was living at Ashfield from 1861 (or earlier).   Samuel's wife Friederike's died in 1863.  Her untimely death left Samuel with three small children (son Johann had died in 1859).  He engaged a housekeeper, Mary Mead, and they later married.  Mary Mead lived with her family in their home at 6 Grosvenor Crescent, Summer Hill, Sydney - the house is believed to be still there, much renovated.  Her father was a brickmaker and had his pits along the Long Cove Creek (now Hawthorne Canal) between Grosvenor Street and Battle Bridge at Parramatta Road.  When the present writer lived (partially) at Ashfield, boys used to hunt in holes along there for old bottles (as by then the brick pits had presumably been filled with Ashfield municipal rubbish and they were re-excavating such(?).   I head/knew about this but never went there myself.  This rubbish land was later nicely planted and since 1994 it has been named Cadigal Reserve, an Aboriginal name (although there's no real evidence of any Aboriginal presence there ever).


Kirchner's family home was named "Württemberg Cottage", in John Street, Ashfield.  A number of documents show that the family resided at No. 23 John Street, Ashfield prior to 1917, whilst on post 1917 paperwork the address is shown to be No. 34 John Street.   Apparently a re-numbering of houses along the street took place in 1917.   Although now living but a very short distance away (Strathfield), the writer has not yet been to John Street to check if .  "Württemberg Cottage" is still there.  Metropolitan Sydney is being intensely altered and the house is not likely to have survived.


Kirchener wrote back to relatives in Germany and some letters have survived.   Two are below.  It is not know who translated them from the old German handwriting or when (or hence if they are totally accurate? ... seemingly translated by a German, as translated 'before' was spelled 'bevor').   Nonetheless they are interesting in that they overwhelmingly express satisfaction with the new land - and knowing nothing to the contrary we may assume the Steiners were equally satisfied that they made the decision to leave Germany for Australia.


Kirchener noted by way of comparisons:


- The bread in Australia was as good as 'cake' in Germany.

- There is no winter in this country. The weather is just like in harvest in Germany.  (He exaggerated - it can get cold in winter at Ashfield)

- We are earning more money than in Germany, and my wife has not to work.

- He was given a bonus of 18f. for satisfactory work.

- If somebody here is working like in Germany, way of life is much better.

- There is freedom.  Everything, we are writing, is true and everybody has his own free will.

- In Germany, they say, letters will be opened and everybody has to write well (correctly/politically/carefully).  In Australia everybody can write as they will.


19th September 1858

Dear Siblings!

Hope you all will be as well as we left you. Cousin George brought the letter, august 30th, to which we have been waiting long time.
We didn't believe, that God will recall our father so soon.

But, to know him in heaven, where sun is shining everytime and no lamentation will be, will take consule on us. Over there we will find him and we will reunite. You may be sure, we are very sorry about the death of our father, as sorry as we would be at home. Especially we are verry sorry, because we intendet to take pleasure to him by sending some money. (5M = 60 f). For the three little brothers and sisters we would also send something. The letter should arrive just at Christmas time. We would write in it, father shall drink some good wine of that money. Unfortunately it is too late now. We have to console with the thought, that it was the will of Good God. Just to the three little ones it will be most difficult. So, we hope, you will be responsible, that they are not alone. We also will do for them, all we can, even though we are in a foreign country. We don't forget them. You have written, I have to get some fortune for heir. I would be happy, if you had written, how much I have to get. Probably you have believed, I would claim it. Oh, don't believe it, we think, you need it more, and we would be glad, everyone of you would have much of the fortune. But I am telling you, each of the three little ones has to get 4 f more. You have to give it to them for going shopping, something they want. I hope, you will fulfill my wish.

Dear Sofie, you are asking for an authority, but if you may divide without an authority of me, I would like it more. I have asked after the costs of it, and it would be about 36 f = 3 M. If you can't divide, you have to write me, how much I have to get, because I have to specify it.
You also asked for my job. I'm working in a beautiful garden, which is about 4-6 acres with many fruit-trees, lemons, figs, many kinds of fruits you don't know; various flowers, much roses, they are not to count. They are blooming the whole year, because there is no winter in this country. The weather is just like in harvest in Germany.

We are also cultivating all kinds of vegetables, potatoes, cabbage, beans and peas. In the stockyard there are hens, ducks, geese, goats and dogs. Also much horses, I can't count them. I can't tell you the number of acres of the farm, but it must be more than the area of Kochendorf. My boss don't know his prosperity.

Dear siblings, now I am telling you about me. I have worked now about 2 years for my boss and earned 40 M a year. One M is 12 f here.
You see, we are earning more money than in Germany, and my wife has not to work. I also got some ground to plant potatoes, cabbage, peas and carrots. In front of the house, we have a beautiful flower-garden. For payment in kind we have every week 20 pounds of meat, 20 pounds of flour, 4 pounds sugar and 2 pounds coffee. We are not short in foodstuffs. When I have been with my boss for about 8 or 10 weeks, he made me a present of 18 f. So you will see, we are very well.

We are healthy and strong, happy and satisfied. You should see our little child, it is so nice. I'm sure, you would like it, if you could hear it calling 'Mam and Dad'. He always wants to go outdoors and is calling 'ada' (that means in German children vocabulary: Let's go for a walk.). He is walking now, when he may hold himself at something.

We are living in a house about a quarter of an hour away from the farm I am working; there are 4 houses near by and it is about 100 steps to the village Petersham. It is more beautiful than Jagstfeld and we can buy there all we need. Half an hour or more is a village ........(illegible) and another half an hour the town Sydney, where we have landed. It is a beautiful town. You don't believe the beauty of the stores, there is no one in Germany.

Dear Siblings, please tell the parents and sisters of our cousin George about that I have written of here. Recently a gold-mine was discovered, named 'The Word of God'. It is about 200 hours from here. Thousands went to that place. Even all the sailors of a ship went to the mine, only the captain remained at the ship. Cousin George also did so, otherwise he would have written a letter and sent some money for his parents. But he told us, if his luck will be in and he will keep healthy, will write them very soon. He will tell us, if digging is successful. In my next letter something more of us, that dear brother Christian and Georges brother Christian may make up their minds. If somebody here is working like in Germany, way of life is much better.

Working time is from 6 am to 6 pm. There is a break from 8 to 9 am, and from 1 to 2 pm. That is 10 hours working.

Everything, we are writing, is true and everybody has his own free will. Just the voyage is very troublesome. Some passengers are healthy and strong, some sick. We also have been sickly.

If I have to give an authority about the heir, you should send me a printed form, and you have to put a stamp to the letter, otherwise it will not arrive to us.

Greetings to you, our cousin, his parents and sisters.

Samuel Kirchner


Petersham, Aug. 10th 1859.

Dear Siblings,

Received your letter dated June 12th. We have enjoyed to read it.

Especially we are very glad to hear, that you all are very well.  

Dear siblings, it is now 9 month ago, we have written our letter.  We do not know, why you did not answer for it. We can't believe that are so much troubles about the heir, that you could not write.

Dear sister Sophie, you have been writing, that ........(name illegibel) wants part of the money, but we don't know why. Perhaps for looking for our brother Friedrich and our father. Bevor we left she laught (sic laughed) and mocked about my wife in the whole village. We can not forget it.

She shall have nothing of the heir, because she is a reach (sic rich) wife and should be ashemed in order to taking money of us. If we would have given her something, we had written it in our first letter. Dear siblings, the money of the heir of our father that belongs to me, I want to give to my sisters Sophie, Katharina, Elisabeth, Marie and my brothers Christian, Schorsch (Georg), Wilhelm and August. Nobody else has to get heir of our father.
Samuel Kirchner

Dear sister Sophie, you have written, you will have a merry day after dividing the heir, and you have invited us to that banquet. We will be with you. We hope you will be cheerful and drink on our health.

We wish you will have this day of rejoicing with foster-father Sonnenwird.

Greetings to him and his wife. Many thanks for them for all they have done to us. Dear brother-in-law Jakob, you like to drink a glas of wine.

In this country wine is very strong, so, if you will drink a pint of it, you will not see the ground any more. We would wish, that you would have 2-3 glasses of it, and we liked to see how merry you are.

A glas costs about 36 x (illegible). All kinds of drinks are very strong.

We thank you very much for writting dear Jakob. We thought, you have forgotten about us like our brother Christian and Schorsch did. They may think like the wealthy man in a fairy-tail. The first may have bought a pair of oxen and have to look for them; and the other one may have married a wife, and therefor also has no time. We have looked for some words in the letter, but we didn't find anything about our brothers.

We are very glad to hear from you, dear sister Katharina and about sending a curl of your dear children. It will be a memory to us and we framed it and hung it to the wall. We are also glad bout your rhymes, dear sister Elisabeth and Marie. We are also sending a picture to you for memory. You will see us and our children very well.

You can even see my wart at my forehead. You see Schorsch (Georg) is praying and our dear little Shani is just awaken from sleep. He is half a year old, and didn't have any firm food nor an comforter now, only mother's milk. You can see him very strong. We wear a costume of this country. Your brother Samuel is talking to you: "Don't be afraid, because I have a strong beard." I don't live in wilderness, it is fashion in this country to have a beard. Cousin Schorsch has the same one. I can tell you, Samuel is more funny and pleasured than former, sings and whistles all day long. He says, he will enjoy his unmarried time, because he could not do that in Germany.  We are very well, healthy and have pleasure with our 2 children. We would like to have you here or near by.

Dear Siblings, if you would have, we wish you to have, you would have enaugh meat and other foods, because we are not short in it. 
Sometimes we have 30-40 pounds of meat a week, we could not eat it.

The bread is as good and fine as the cakes in Germany.

In Germany they say, letters will be opened and everybody has to write well about Australia. That is not true, everybody can write whether he is well (sic politically correct) or not.

The picture enclosed belongs to you, dear sisters Sophie and Elisabeth together. Please honour (sic value) it, because it costs 36 f and we hope you will take pleasure in it.

Dear sister Sophie, you have written about the two brothers Wilhelm and August, that they are not so well, we are sorry for them. With the help of God they will have a better time. Wilhelm, don't despair, beat that Jack Keifer, God will help you. Dear Sibling, we are wishing to help them, because they lost our father so early, and don't leave them alone.

Now I will finish this letter with thousands of greetings to all friends, relatives and all they ask for us. We hope you will write again as soon as possible, that we are feeling well again. Very speedy replay.

Samuel Kirchner


Saved by descendants (B. O'Neil)  - viz.

On my Tree of Life I'm but a speck
Its roots and branches stretching back,
Love and laughter through the years
Pain and sorrow, joy and tears.

From Langeness in its watery domain
To far flung Scotland, mist and rain
Shepherds born on German soil
The working Brit, worn with toil.

All these and more have helped to form
The family into which I was born
Because of them with pride I say
I'm who I am, here, today.
©  B.  O'Neil 1995

[ NB:  About the letters, in 19th September 1858, Christian wrote "I have worked now about 2 years for my boss".  How can this be so, as the Gottorp arrived on 15 September 1857.  Re "Recently a gold-mine was discovered, named 'The Word of God'", this could refer to Ophir, which is a Biblical name.  The Ophir gold rush started in 1851, however, hardly "recently".  Re the referred to sending of rhymes from Germany to Samuel's family, the wife of Martin Eisenhuth at Wombat Creek, Mulgoa, Christian Steiner's boss, also kept a book that was full of verses so maybe those had been sent to her and she transcribed them - uncertain, as written in old German handwriting.  

To have a 150-years re-union of descendants of the Gottorp immigrants was tried, but failed due to there not being enough persons findable in Sydney at the time.  Discussion online of the approaching 150th anniversary date did bring several Gottorp immigrant descendants in NSW in contact.  However, no two descendants lived in the same town or city and hence no meeting of anyone to celebrate that day did take place.  Nevertheless, a belated celebration of 150 years passage since the Gottorp arrived did take place the following year, 2008, by the Nagorcka family:  "Our Wendish Heritage Society and the descendants of Christian and Emilie Nagorcka (who had twelve children) celebrated the 150th Anniversary of the arrival of the Nagorcka ancestors in Australia in 1857 on the ship Gottorp. We visited Tarrington's Nagorcka Sites on 8-9 March 2008".  Christian Nagorcka was a Slavic Wend who had been a groom in the stables of the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III ( ). 



Brake (in lower left quadrant), on the Weser River, was were the shipyard was of the company which built the Gottorp.

Her maiden voyage was to Sydney, taking Christian (and possibly Elizabeth who he married at Mulgoa)



Bremerhaven (top outline) and Bremen metropolis, upon the Weser River.



Dr. Peter-Michel Pawlik, born in Bremen in 1945, is a jurist and judge in his home town. From 1983 to 1991, he was a representative in the Bremen State Parliament (Bürgerschaft), and from 1992 to 1995 a member of the Bremen Constitutional Court (Staatsgerichtshof).   Born and bred next to the River Weser he was  a shiplover since childhood and became a member of the World Ship Society in 1961.  In the 1960s he wrote numerous articles with own line drawings for the society's magazine Marine News.  He became well known for his books on shipping history, having published  Vol. I of the much acclaimed trilogy "Von der Weser in die Welt" ("Sailing from the Weser into the World") in 1993, followed by Vol. II ten years later. They describe the sailing shipyards in the 19th century on the lower Weser and the sailing ships built there.  In 1996 appeared the biography of the last German discoverer captain, titled "Von Sibirien nach Neu Guinea".  For more than thirty years Peter-Michrel Pawlik has devoted all his spare time to research on the sailing ships and sailing shipyards in the Weser region. Vol III. of "Von der Weser in die Welt" was published in 2008.

Little had yet been discovered (by this writer) about the Gottorp itself until 2011.   It was known that it was one of the ships used to transport German immigrants under a Bounty scheme managed by Wilhelm Kirchner and set up in the late 1840s, originally to focus on supplying experienced workers for early Australian vineyards.  Many of these immigrants initially went to the Hunter Valley.   However, until 2011 little was know about the vessel itself until the work shown above but shipping expert Dr. Peter-Michael Pawlik of Bremen-Strom was learned of.


A treatment of the Gottorp may be found in:   Peter-Michael Pawlik, Von der Weser in the World, Volume III, Bremen 2008.


The Gottorp was quite large for its time.   It was a full-rigged ship and was launched on 10 March 1857.   The run to Sydney was its maiden voyage and it departed for Sydney under Captain  N.R. Borgfeldt on 20 May 1857.  Before leaving it had advertised a free passage for any doctor, so that it might have a doctor on board.  It departed with 259 passengers on board and travelled for 118 days, reaching Sydney on 15 September 1857. 


Some Australian records (with errors, e.g. month of arrival) made of the ship's arrival (and one of its passage) are at:



State Records NSW 1857, Sep 15 GOTTORP SHIP, Page 086 1841_1866

The captain's name in the Shipping > Master's Office record says "R. Borgfeldt".
(See scan copy below) A list of the Crew and Passengers, arrived in the Ship Gottorp, of Oldenburgh, Burgfeldt Master, burthen 614 tons, from Port of Bremen, to Sydney, New South Wales, 17 September, 1857.

A diary made by a passenger, or the voyage, survives ....,+1857&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=8&gl=au
Shipboard Diary of 'Gottorp' May 12 - Sept 20, 1857.  Made by Mr Nagorcka
GOTTORP - 1857 - NSW.  Samuel Friedrich Christian Kirchner passenger; first wife - and child (born on voyage).
GOTTORP .. 10 1857 Botany Bay ... ... JA9 a.. JA9: German Immigrant Ships Arriving in the Colony of NSW from Hamburg &
Bremen 1856/57 & 1857/59 - GOTTORP Ex Bremen May 1857.  a.. Journal Articles [JA] held by the Bundaberg LDS Family History Centre in

Journal Articles [JA] held by the Bundaberg LDS Family History Centre in Queensland:

JA9: German Immigrant Ships Arriving in the Colony of NSW from Hamburg & Bremen 1856/57 & 1857/59 - GOTTORP Ex Bremen May 1857.
"GOTTORP" - Departed from Bremen on 21st May 1857 and arrived at Sydney at Sydney on 15th October 1857 with 259 immigrants. The Bremen agents were Bischoff and Co. and the Sydney agents were Kirchner and Co. The only recording of the passengers was done by the Port Jackson Harbour Master, and then by number only - 203 male adults, 35 female adults, 12 boys and 7 girls.



The Bischoff and Co. referred to was the shipowner Hermann Bischoff & Co.  The company was headquartered at Oldenburg but the ships themselves were housed in Brake.  In Peter-Michel Pawlik's book ""Von der Weser in die Welt" on page 237 is a very beautiful painting of the Gottorp.  The original is thought to be in the Maritime Museum at Brake.


After the maiden voyage to Sydney, the Gottorp continued in world-wide service.  In 1858 it took 246 emigrants from the Weser to Baltimore, reaching there after  41 days of travel on 29 September 1858 the port of destination.   Borgfeldt continued as its Captain but in or before 1863, when 22 days out from Batavia, the crew were hit by fever and Borgfelt died.  The last record of the ship is in 1865 (uncertain what became of it?).


No drawing or details of the Gottorp are at hand (yet) and what existence the ship had other than as a migrant transport vessel (if any) is also unknown at present.  Origin and ownership of ships like the Gottorp may be researched at the Australian Maritime Museum Library, in the microfilm reels of the records of the "Bureau Veritas" which is a Continental register published in Paris and similar to the Lloyd's Register of ships.  But this is probably not necessary since finding the works by Peter-Michel Pawlik.  


Samuel Kirchner records noted that the passage on the Gottorp to Sydney was a "troublesome" time.   More detailed knowledge of shipboard life for the passage of the Gottorp in 1857 comes from a shipboard diarist (a.k.a. the Nagorcka account, Anonymous 1977 in the References below).  This item is an extract (some photocopied pages) from a book for which the full reference is not known yet.  The key element involved is diary notes, in German, made by a passenger on the voyage.  It is not known yet where the repository of those original notes is either.  It is believed that the extract is possibly from a family history book, and as it refers to "grandfather Nagorcka", may have compiled and annotated by a grandson or greatgrandson.  What is original and/or may have been added in retrospect might not be always clear.  It is a rendition of Nagorcka's dairy, with note that the German writing was difficult to translate and to find proper words for in English.  The extract is believed to be the story of Christian Nagorcka, who rapidly left for Victoria after the Gottorp reached Sydney.  Nagorcka was not one of the Gottorp's contract workers, and friends paid for his fare to Melbourne.  No doubt enquiry to Nagorcka family people in Victoria will locate where this shipboard diary is now located.


The Gottorp was a German immigrant ship, a 'full rigged' vessel having three masts with square sails.   The Ship's surgeon was Dr F Jager.  Kirchner and Co. were the Ship's Agents in Sydney.   It departed from Bremen on 21 May 1857.   It reached Sydney on 17 September 1857.  It had a crew of 21, and carried 205 male adult passengers, 35 female adult passengers, and 19 children (259 immigrants).   The ships of this time from Bremen were bitterly complained about by the immigrants.  Some of the problems are mentions by diarist Nagorcka, such as food and water being in short supply and of poor quality.  One of the last of this line of transports was the Fanny Kirchner, after the arrival of which there were approaches to the authorities by Germans in Sydney.  Germans signed a petition asking for an official enquiry into the conditions.  Consequently a Parliamentary Inquiry into conditions on German ships was held, in June 1858 (NSW Legislative Council, Journal 1858, vol. 3, pp. 355-406).


According to the Sydney port record, the ship brought 257 new arrivals, mostly males (close to the true number, 259).   According to passenger Nagorka's diary there's a slight discrepancy as he noted it had 249 passengers.  There was at least one birth on the trip, also a death.  Nagorcka noted that only about 50 had paid fares.  The great majority were immigrants to a pre-agreed work contract of two years duration.  Nagorka stated that most of these immigrants were 'outcasts and not of the progressive type'.  He noted that they had even been paid paid to leave the country, each given 40 Gulden to assist them on their way. 




Gottorp's arrival list (transcribed version below).   (Source:  From a copy obtained by Phil McArthur).


The man on board who commenced this family of Australian Steiners was Christian Steiner.

The Gottorp sighted Port Jackson at daybreak of 15 September and was led into the harbour by a pilot ship sent out to escort it.  A fortnight earlier, on 31 August, another ship, the Dunbar, had hit the cliffs of South Head and almost all aboard had drowned.  The Gottorp found in Sydney Habour another German ship, from Hamburg, on which many people had died from an epidemic.  Those aboard the Gottorp began dancing, and they danced all the night, in celebration of their safe arrival.  The Gottorp disembarkation began on the 16th and was probably complete by  the 17th when the above record was made.


(Data:  As recorded by NSW colonial government, Shipping Master's Office,

repository State Archives, NSR13278 [X97-98] reel 404.)



[NB:  Captain and surgeon names do not agree with the other record above.]


Cutting from Sydney Morning Herald Showing Arrival of “GOTTORP” in 1857 ( Found by when

researching Samuel Friedrich Christian Kirchner b.1829 Kochendorf, Germany - d.1904 Ashfield, NSW, who also arrived

aboard the Gottorp.   Kirchner's cottage at 23 John Street, Ashfield, named "Württemberg Cottage", still stands. )


It is known that 28 year old co-voyager Samuel Kirchner, before leaving the Fatherland, signed a "Severance of Loyalty to the King of Württemburg" document.  So did Johann Gottlieb Haeberle.  Christian Steiner no doubt did the same thing.


From Wuerttemberg state records.  Approval for Johann Gottlieb Haeberle and family to emigrate

to Sydney.  Dated in Weinsberg on 8 May 1857.  This was not long before  the ship left, on

21 May 1857.  (Source:  Copy obtained by Phil McArthur).  On the same day, 8 May,

he signed the Certificate of Abandonment of Citizenship, renouncing "every kind

of civil interconnection with the state of Wuerttemberg, and committing himself

not to stir against His Majesty the King and the Kingdom for a period of

one year, and for the same time to remain liable for any claims that

might come up against him to the aurhorities of the Kingdom.






The Gottorp Germans were probably the last to reach Australian under arrangements managed by Wilhelm Kirchner who was for some years the NSW government agent for administration of the Bounty system of assisted passage.  However, none of the Germans on the Gottorp were not "assisted" immigrants in the official sense.


The term "assisted immigrant" is usually restricted to meaning those who obtained government assistance from the destination end.  Following the end of the government assistance program, however, private schemes of prepaid fare assistance on pay-back contract continued for a time and in the case of New South Wales, the same man, Wilhelm Kirchner, as handled the government assistance also continued to  do business in regard to the private contractors.  Officially the latter are not regarded as being in the "assisted" category.  The NSW government assistance scheme had finished by the end of 1856.  In the case of Württembergers relatively tiny amounts may also have been given as assistance to those leaving, from authorities in their homeland, more likely from local town authorities than from state authorities.  Amounts of 20 and 40 Gulden were given to some emigrants.  At the time a gulden was approximately equal to a British florin (which were twelve to the pound, a florin being a two-shilling piece). 


Kirchner from Frankfurt am Main, was a successful businessman who arrived in Sydney in 1839 and became the sole agent responsible for bringing the assisted German vinedress families to NSW from 1849 to 1856.  Kirchner was also Consul for Hamsburg and Prussia in the 1852 and 1857 lists of consular representatives in NSW.  Apart from the immigration agent business he made money from candle manufacture to serve the needs of the Gold Rush miners.


Kirchner worked in Germany with J.F. Cast who was a government-licenced emigration agent in Stuttgart.  Kirchner, who acted on behalf of NSW landowners with permissions to import vinedressers under the NSW assistance scheme (1847 Regulations) had returned back to Sydney in 1851 and therefore would have had to rely on agents such as Cast for local effort in the ongoing recruitment drive.  

Some of the immigrants in the 1855-1856 third intake of assisted vinedressers later made complaints against Cast.  Also, in the 1858 Parliamentary Inquiry into conditions on German ships, Kirchner was asked to explain by what authority the agent Cast was acting.  Kirchner related about how the government, in Stuttgart, had taken security from Mr Cast to compensate some emigrants who had paid money but had been left in the lurch by failed arrangements.  The people involved were said to have been "starving", and that Kirchner himself took "a great many" of them over and sent them to Australia.  The committee further probed Kirchner as to by whose authority Cast had taken 700 gulden from a Jakob Schaub, one of the referred-to party who Kirchner took over and shipped to Australia.  


Under the NSW government's Bounty Regulations men over 50 were not to be emigrated.  However, Kirchner arranged for many (at least 50) to come even though over-aged.  It is believed that documents would have been "doctored" in regard to this, probably arranged by Kirchner.  One employer at Tabulum later complained that two of this immigrants were old, and that one was so incapacitated as to be unfit for work of any kind (Paterson, 2007a).  For assisted Württemberg "vinedressers" who came on the Undine in 1855, records found of their actual occupations in their home towns show only one of them as a vinedresser (Weingärtner).  Others were farmers, bakers, shoemakers, weaver, cartwright, whitewasher, potter, rope maker, and stonemason.  "Altogether, a promising bunch of vinedressers" wrote Paterson (2007), although they were almost all recruited from wine producing areas.


The government scheme was terminated in 1856.  The subsequent German immigrants into NSW, such as the Gottorp Germans in 1857, did not receive any money from the New South Wales government but Kirchner continued in arranging assisted passage immigration by means of private work contracts.   It would appear (Anonymous 1997, p. 18) that all the contract workers brought over on the Gottorp had agreed to the same identical contract regardless of which particular agricultural property each was bound for.


The Cox family records could be searched around the mid 1800s for any mention of negotiations to bring out Germans which might tie in with the above.  It is assumed that all of the willing contract workers who Kirchner located came under the same contract and that Kirchner may have taken all he could find.  As an agent who had by that time (1857) acrued considerable personal wealth from his activities, Kirchner likely bulk financed the voyage from funds available and how much advance payment was given to him by the Australian landholders prior to arrival of immigrants is not currently known.  Kirchner may have shipped more Germans than he managed to get takers for, and/or some deals may have fallen through, since some of the immigrants were advertised as available for hire after arrival.  Kirchner's deputy or agent in Sydney is believed to have been Henry Hamburger, then of 10 Lower George Street.  There were ads placed in the Sydney Morning Herald immediately after the arrival of the Gottorp which may be informative [SMH, Wed 16 Sep 1857 p.1 in column under the date; cf. Sat 3 Oct 1857, p.10 col.1].


Two German immigrant ships arrived at much the same time in Sydney harbour, the Gottorp a little after the Arago.   The Gottorp found the Arago had been held in quarantine, for four weeks, and that many people had died from epidemic.   The day after the Gottorp arrived, diarist Nagorcka recorded that "Agents from the Hamburg Line" came aboard and took away the contract workers.  Nagorcka himself left the ship the following day, 17 September 1857, and that night stayed at the "Hotel Hamburg" in "19 Tink Street" (19 King Street?).  All these 'Hamburger' connections should be able to be traced further and enquiry has been made to Sydney Archives about the Hotel Hamburg.


In the mid 1850s some individuals or groups of assisted passage Germans are believed to have published complaints about various details of the assisted immigration schemes.  This includes Württemberger emigrants, and following up on those publications might also provide fuller picture of the times and circumstances.



Karl Ludwig Wilhelm Kirchner


Kirchner himself had arrived in Sydney on 20th July 1839 on the Mary.  He returned to Germany in 1848 to work there as immigration agent for the NSW government.  He based himself at his mother's house in Frankfurt am Main to begin promoting emigration to the colony of Neu-Süd-Wallis.  Besides putting up posters and advertising for emigrants via the press, one of the things he did was arrange the publication and distribution of a special promotional booklet "Australien und seine Vortheile für Auswanderer", Australia and its advantages for emigrants (Printed in 1848 by H.L. Brönner, Frankfurth am Main):




This book contained letters home from 15 of the first assisted immigrants of 1849, in a second enlarged edition published in 1850.  The letters were also later published in translation (Cloos and Tampe, 1993).  It is thought that advertisements and posters were done in towns and villages all over the Rhine regions in particular, although persons from all over Germany may have come under the Kirchner arrangements. 


Also around at the time when Kirchner began operations at Frankfurth am Main, on 16 October 1848, the Hessen and Württemberg branch associations of the Nationalverein füe deutsche Auswanderung und Andsiedlung (National Association for German Emigration and Settlement) arranged a combined congress of all German emigration assocations.  This was held in Frankfurt am Main where Kirchner was based.





Germans below deck, 1857, on an emigrant ship bound for America.

(From:  Evans, 1997)


The following graph shows how the 1850s saw a steep peak in emigration from Germany.  Note that this peak is maked "Agricultural depression" and economic conditions must have been grim for many a Württemberger in the mid-1850s.  People often could get assistance from local authorities, or less often from the state, to emigrate in order to lessen the burden of overstretched local resources for the destitute.  The Gottorp shipboard diarist Nagorcka wrote of the majority on board being "outcasts and not of the progressive type.  They were even paid to leave the country and were given 40 Gulden to assist them on their way" (Anonymous 1977. pp.18-19) and "Unfortunately, three-quarters of the passengers were deported, of whom half were no good and didn't deserve good treatment" (op. cit. p. 21).  Subsidies were indeed given by state and local bodies to assist pooer people to emigrate.



The 1850s emigration peak.  German emigration peaked at 250,000 in 1854.  It dropped away to around

100,000 in 1857 and continued falling, due both to better harvests and improving industrial employment

at home and the bubble-burst of the early 1850s boom of the English-speaking countries in 1857.

The result of the above mid 1850s peak of local conditions in Gemany manifested in NSW as

the third wave/intake of assisted vinedressers arriving in 1855-1856.  In 1855 nearly 1700

assisted German immigrants (380 families) arrived, in seven ships to Sydney and

two to Morton Bay.  The NSW  government bounty system was terminated

soon after this peak influx, in 1856.






It is currently believed that Christian's boss or overseer at the Winbourne estate vineyard at Wombat Creek (where Christian was probably headed - inferred, not proven) would have been Martin Eisenhuth as master of the vineyard, in the smaller stone house - not George Cox himself in the big stone house.


It had been thought for a time that the Eisenhuth family took up residence at Wombat Creek in the late 1840s.  For example, Mulgoa Progress Association (1988, p.11) referred to this as "In the latter part of the 1840's, George brought out a German Vinedresser; Martin Eisenhuth, and his home at Winbourne was on the slopes near the vineyard."  This is no doubt a misunderstanding of a mention of a "vine dresser" in a letter from George Cox to his sons George and Henry on 2 January 1848: "Your Uncle Edward and myself have arranged for Mr Coulner to bring out two rams each with the vine dresser, and have limited him to fifteen first cut of the rams."  "He things by November they will be here."  This no doubt refers not to Eisenhuth but to some German brought out by Edward Cox.  Edward Cox of Fern Hill also brought out more Germans in 1855 (Phillip and Joseph Huth, and Sebastian Müller).


Martin Eisenhuth was born 1828 in Mittelheim, Nassau.  


He married Anna Maria Knoch, a Catholic, in September 1852 and they came on the ship John Caesar as Martin later recorded it, or the Johann Caesar, in 1853.  Their first child, Johann, died on the voyage, aged 4 months.


Martin was an assisted vinedresser who had been officially connected to (inducted or introduced to Australia by) David Cannon McConnell of Moreton Bay, however he somehow instead ended up working for the Cox family at the Wombat Creek vineyard (NB:  the local name of this creek as Wombat Creek is likely modern and post-dating the acquisition of the land by the Christian Brothers).  The details of what happened with Martin and his wife bear further investigation but it is believed to be a case of an assisted immigrant being swapped around by employers.  There is some reference to the matter in the Eisenhuth family book that survived in the Mulgoa district.   The couple's first child was born at Penrith in 1854.  At the same time, 1852/53, another of the Cox brothers on the neighbouring property to the north, Edward Cox, took to that land three families from the Helene, which was the next immigrant transport ship to arrive after the Johann Caesar.





According to the diarist, the workers on the Gottorp were committed to work for two years as farm-workers for a yearly wage of £20 sterling plus rations.  Rations were set as 20 lb flour, 19 lb meat, 2 lb sugar, 1/2 lb coffee and 1/4 lb tea per week.  They had to repay £18 for their fare, which left them £22 for their two years work.   If this were so then Christian Steiner was bound to stay at Cox's place for two years at least, to work off his migration assistance obligations.


On September 16, the diarist recorded that Agents from the Hamburg Line came and got the contract people to take them to their various designations.  From all indications, it would appear that Christian Steiner, was bound for the Cox vineyard at Wombat Creek, Mulgoa, which place already had a German overseer in residence - Martin Eisenhuth.


The material on Mulgoa herein comes from the Christian Brothers who now own the original Winbourne property of the Cox family there.   Special thanks are due to Brother Moy Hitchens who took us (the author of this webpage and his wife) to where Christian likely worked and possibly lived at Mulgoa.  At Wombat Creek the original stone house where the Eisenhuth family lived still stands (fully restored after it had deteriorated) where it always has been.   Very close to it is a couple of laid large sandstone blocks which might be remnant of a second lesser dwelling (or some other farm structure).  That is possibly where the Steiners lived although that is only a guess.   How many Germans worked on the Cox property at the time is not at present known. 


It was at Mulgoa where Christian married Elizabeth Rheinhardt and the family began in Australia.  There  Sophia Wilhemmina Steiner became the first family member born on Australian soil, on the 9th Oct 1859.  Sophia Wilhemmina appears to have been named after a child of Mrs Eisenhuth's, suggesting a close connection between the two families.  Christian likely would have been working under Martin Eisenhuth.   The name Martin Eisenhuth appears on the Steiners' marriage certificate, as witness.


Some of this is known because the Eisenhuths kept a family book, of which a full copy is preserved still on the property.  In this book it shows that "Sophia Wilhemmina" was also name of one of the six Eisenhuth children born there.


The Eisenhuths' house (as restored).   Records indicate the original house was somewhat larger,

double story with a verandah.  The stone was quarried only a little further distant than the

nearby trees, and to the left, in Wombat Creek.  It is aligned with and sits upon

the Lapstone Monocline.   (Photo: Br. Moy Hitchen)


The Vindresser's (M. Eisenhuth's) house.  Well-built stone house.  Built before the big

Winbourne mansion house was commenced, perhaps to test the quality and

workability of the local stone.  (Photo:  Br. Moy Hitchins)




The Council (Rathaus) of Weizhelm, the town near the hamlet of Eselshalden, and one individual Councillor in particular ( Peter Fohr who kindly photographed in Eselshalden for me and sent the photos herein) are thanks.   In Australia very special and kind help with "understanding Germans/Germany etc.") came from Jenny Paterson of 3A King Edward Street, Croydon.  Jenny offered all sorts of general advice, even on topics like how to read Old German handwriting which are totally beyond me, plus specific advice for finding my relatives.   Jenny is a specialist historian on the people who came to Eastern Australia from SW Germany pre-1890, and the tips and advice she gave were very helpful.  From her own records Jenny soon picked some of my Steiner family, e.g. she had copy of a Jakob Steiner's application to emigrate from Eselshalden to Peru in 1852 with his wife and five children and wrote to me "He was no doubt related to Christian, probably closely - it's a tiny place".   Jenny gave me photocopies of notes and many old maps of the Germans States, a rather confusing business, and stated "That should give you a crash course in German historical and political geography".  Still not everything Jenny gave me has been fully absorbed, and studying it further will, I expect, lead to further thoughts of avenues to continue probing backwards along.   Some of Jenny's papers are listed in the references below.



Anonymous (?Trevor Nagorka), 1977.  Shipboard diary.  May 12 - September 20, 1857.


[No full copy seen; Printed, pp. 15-23.  Publication place unknown (photocopy); presumably a Victorian family history book.   Obtained from the Bega Valley Genealogy Society. Call no. Z5.19.03.   This is a translation from the diary of Mr Christian Nagorka, 1826-1908, who sailed on the ship Gottorp to Australia). ] 

Burnett, B., Nixon, R. and Wrigley, J., 2005.  They worked at Camden Park.  Camden Historical Society.  90 pp.

Burkhardt, G.   The Places of Origin of German Immigrants to NSW, 1849 - 1860.

Carmichael, Lynne, 1973.   German migration past and present.  Thesis.  [Not traced].


Cloos, P. and Tampke, Jürgen (Eds.), 1993.   "Greetings from the Land where Milk and Honey flows" - The German Migration to NSW 1838-1858.  Southern Highlands Publishers, Canberra.


Cox, G.C. 1980.  George Cox of Mulgoa and Mudgee.   Letters to his sons 1846-49   [State Library of NSW  E929.209944/C877.3/1].


Evans, R., 1997.  Germany's convict exports.  History Today, No. ?, pp.11-17.  [photocopy only was seen.]


Geyer, O.F. and Gwinner, M.P., 1991.  Geologie von Baden Württemberg. Stuttgart.


Harmstorf, I., 1971.  German migration, with particular reference to Hamburg, to South Australia.  Thesis.  [Not traced].

Hoare, M., Rutledge, M., 1974.  Macleay, Sir William John (1820-1891).  Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, Melbourne University Press.  pp. 185-187.

Matthew, S., 1833.  Journal.  Quoted in A. Wilson, 1982.  "Regentville: An Historical Archaeological Study".  B.A. Hons. Thesis, University of Sydney.  (pp. 5,11)

McClelland, James, 1982.  A history of Germany and guide to tracing immigrants who came to Australia from Germany.


Mulgoa Historical Society(?), 19xx?.  Historical Winbourne.  Edmund Rice Retreat and Conference Centre

(Conducted by the Christian Brothers), 1315 Mulgoa Road, Mulgoa NSW.  11 pp.


Mulgoa Historical Society(?), 19xx?.  The Shepherd's Hut.  As recorded by John Giacon, January 1984.

10 pp.  (Might not be by same historical ?society as for the 'Historical Winbourne' article, and the Christian Brothers themselves also had at one time a small museum and a historical interest group).


Mulgoa Progress Association, 1988.  Mulgoa! Mulgoa!  Where is that?  A general history of Mulgoa.

71 pp.  [Mitchell Library Q994.41/109]


Nadell, G., 1953.   Letters from German Immigrants in NSW.  RAHS, Vol. 39, Part 15.


Paterson, J., 1992.  On the trail of resources in Germany: a report on a visit to southwest Germany, Sep-Dec 1991.  Ances-tree, vol. 5, no.2, pp. 3-13.


Paterson, J., 2007a.  German immigrant ships to Eastern Australia - resources and problems.  Part II: UNDINE 1855.  Ances-tree, vol. 20, no. 1, 26 pp.


Paterson, J., 2007b.  "Planned illegitimacy" among German immigrants.  Ances-tree, vol. 20, no. 2, 9 pp.


Paterson, J., 2007c.  Website: "Emigration from Southwest Germany" - Auswanderung aus Südwestdeutschland.    Ances-tree, vol. 19, no. 3, 11 pp.


Paterson, J., 2007d.  "Planned illegitimacy" among German immigrants.  Ances-tree, vol. 20, no. 2, 9 pp.


PLDC (Penrith Lakes Development Corporation), 1981.  Penrith Lakes Scheme.  Environmental Impact Statement.  Kinhill Pty Ltd., 248 pp.


Scherzer, K., 1857-1859.  The Novara Diaries.  Mitchell Library, Sydney.


[Karl von Scherzer, 1821-1903, was an Austrian economist, ethnologist, and later consular official.  His original manuscript diaries were found in 1939 and acquired by the Mitchell Library.  Published, somewhat sanitised/edited version also exists. The manuscript account of his time aboard the Novara between 1857-1859 is to be found in his three diaries in the Mitchell Librar.   These were acquired from local book dealers and publishers Angus and Robertson on 17 July 1939 (according to a pencilled note in the gutter of page l, Diary I).   The published version,  more complete, and formalised, better documented but less frank is the three volume work Reise der Österreichischen Fregatte Novara um die Erde in den Jahren 1857, 1858 und 1859,  Imperial and Royal State and Court Printery, Vienna 1861-2; I (1861) xii 368, 37; II (1861) viii, 454, 20; III (1862) viii, 436; appendices.   The English translation of the these three volumes lacks the numerous illustrations and some tables and appendicies.  It appeared from 1861-3 in London (Saunders, Otley & Co.).  Later editions in German and Italian were also published.]

Scherzer, K., 1857-1859.  The Novara Diaries.  - Transcription by Mrs Dymphyna Clark, 1995.  


[This and other interesting considerations of Dr Karl Scherzer and others of the Novara scientific expedition, may be found on the Michael Organ website - ]. 


State Archives.   German Migration and settlement in NSW.  Archives in Brief, No. 50.


Tampke, Jürgen (Ed.), 1982.  Wunderbar Country - Germans look at Australia, 1850-1914. Hale & Iremonger, Sydney. 


Tampke, Jürgen and Doxford, Colin.   Australia, Willkommen: a history of the Germans in Australia.


Vondra, Josef , 1981.  German-Speaking Settlers in Australia. Cavalier Press, Melbourne.


Watson, J.H., 1917.  Mulgoa, present and past.  The Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society. Vol 4, pt 3.





Continue with the Steiner story in Australia,

at Mulgoa and Camden, in the following file 






- An index of Steiner stories -

- Steiners and Germany (Christian migrates to Australia) -

- Christian Steiner family at Mulgoa/Camden -

- Christian Steiner family moved to Wagga Wagga -

- Doreen Phyllis Steiner (née Steiner) -

-- Life of Doreen Steiner -

- [Family's earliest ancestor]  The descendants of Ulrich Steiner -

- Place of Christian Steiner in German ~ Eselshalden/Krähenhof -