A recreated vision of 'The Skjold' sailing from Altona,
outside Hamburg Harbour, at 13:00, on July 3rd, 1841 - R.Grosser
(after the Danish training ship 'Georg Stage', 1956)
the antipodean grosser's Last Updated 25/10/01
by Richard Grosser
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The first Grosser to arrive in Australia in late 1841 was Karl Albert Hermann Grosser (KAHG) and Anna Rosina Wogish (ARW) with their six children (Amelia Rosalie Grosser; their second child Karl August Grosser,emigrated to Australia later, in the 1850's, (note the records of the reconstructed passenger lists from 1851, #67 through #85 [see inset, below]) due to the demands of compulsory military service in the Preußische Militärisch; Hermann Eduard Grosser, Hermann Eduard Ludwig Grosser, Johann August Traugott Grosser and Maria Magdalina Grosser, originally from the city of Grünberg (a.k.a. Gruenberg), Silesia, or Lower Silesia, Prussia. Grünberg, is now known as Zielona Gora, Poland. Zielona Gora, is a major grape-growing region, located near the Oder River, serviced by major arterial highways, an airport and it is also accessible on the train-line, between the cities of Berlin, Germany and Warsaw, Poland.
The voyage in 1841, commenced after a journey on three barges from Grünberg, departing on May 6th, until their anchorage on the Elbe, in Hamburg, on May 22nd. This had been deemed "a pleasant journey" until it was tinged with abusive insults from villagers in Berlin and Posen. Thereafter, they were "pelted with stones", whilst "passing through a pretty village with a palace." The Grosser family, finally departed on the Skjold, a Danish 'fast-sailing' ship, of 400 tons, which departed from the port of Hamburg, on June 30th. They fled from religious persecution, as impoverished Lutherans from the Prussian King, Frederick William III (FW III). Following the tradition of Frederick William I, the Hollenzollerns had advocated by force, the imperial control of religious observance, in the enforced "merger" of the Lutheran and Reformed Churches.
Fig 1. The Prussian Military in 1813, showing the typical uniform and regalia of the armed infantry, militia and sword-carrying, cavalry. (Preußische Militärgeschichte)
For Karl August Grosser's arrival in Australia, see -
H-02, Reconstructed Passenger Lists for 1851 Via Hamburg: Emigrants from Germany, Austria, Bohemia, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Scandinavia, and Switzerland to Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the United States, and Venezuela. Clifford N. Smith. German and Central European Emigration Monograph Number 2: H-02D, Part 4:
Their seventh child, a girl, Maria Salome Grosser, was born in-transit, on the ship. On the 17th April, 1844 at Bethany, South Australia, the eight child, Benjamin Dienegott Leberecht Grosser, [1st generation] was born. He was our family's great-grandfather and was the only original KAHG family member to be born in Australia. It is recorded that there were two waves of German immigration to South Australia, fleeing from religious intolerance, in apparently, small flotillas across the Atlantic. Some families emigrated to the young, and prospering now-independent USA, (which KAHG had applied for on Sept. 10th 1838, in Liegnitz) but whilst other families perservered, for the long journey to Australia (which was applied for by KAHG on March 20th, 1841), where there was surely freedom, but under the protection of a congenial and protective British monarchy.
Fig 3. The Flag of Zielona Gora (Flags of the World)
A major influence to the stability of Europe in 1840, came with the marriage of Queen Victoria to her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg, who greatly influenced and ultimately transformed her British court. It is most probable, this British & German hegemony was conducive to the German immigrant families, who placed their utmost faith in God, to deliver them from their oppression, in the hardship of making their new land at Angas Park, fruitful.
Fig 4. The Kaplica Church, Zielona Gora
This firm faith in the monarchy, plus the death of the despot FW III, in 1840 giving rise to the son, Frederick William IV, an unknown king, may have been the incentive to leave in a period of political and religious instability. KAHG was one of the original pioneers and the mayor of the first settlement in Bethanien (or Bethany, as it was later known) the Barossa Valley District and his wife ARW was by descent, a princess of the ancient Wendish, or a.k.a. the Vindish people, who were a Slavic group that dispersed from Eurasia into small enclaves, throughout Europe from eastern Germany to the Balkans.
Fig 5. The Coat of Arms of the former Province of Grünberg
Cf. German Geneology: Silesia
In late 1998, there were about 770 Grossers in the USA, with a much smaller number in Australia. Tracing of the name Grosser, in Silesia is extremely difficult, as all Lutherans who were born during the reign of FW III, were denied the rights of citizenship. This included the registration of births and deaths. These were registered only by the Church, where they were performed. The destruction of Churches during the internal civil wars, that followed the downfall of the Prussian Hohenzollern dynasty and the dissolution of the Hapsburg's Austro-Hungarian Empire, also destroyed the records of the linked connections between families. The only major surviving evidence, is the local and regional church records of births, baptisms, marriages and deaths and in the antique maps of the towns and villages.
Cf.: German Regional Research:1871 Borders
Germany in the 1871 Borders
Fig. 6 Wine Festival in Zielona Gora, Poland
An interesting perception of the voyage is related in this following personal and tragic account of the travails of the passengers of the Skjold. The following extract, courtesy Debra Dienelt, is typed from the original letters, by Hann Prochno (nee Klar) of Germany:This translates to:
26. Paßiren wir St. Helena, sie leigt uns links hir wurde Bruder Grocke aus Zullichau ein Sohnlein geborhren. 27. guter Wind
28. Windstille. Im angesicht die Martin-Vos-Rocks neben der Insel Trinitat, die unbewohnt ist, es starb dem Bruder August Weinert aus B(indecipherable) Holland sein Kind. Auch wird Bruder Grocke ein Kind gebohren, die den 29. getauft wurden beide. Heut sahen wir einen todten Wallfisch der Herr Captan fuhr mit einen Boot hin, die Haifische (indecipherable) zehren von ihm, viel Seevogel wurden geschoBen, die so groß als ein Gans waren. 30. August schwacher Wind.
Klar, G. E. (1841) Letter to Christian Klar (brother)
(original translation after Gottfried Emanuel Klar, where this letter was found in the possessions of Christian Klar, in Deutsch-Kessel.), courtesy Debra Dienelt, 23/12/00 [email]26th, we pass St Helena, it lies to our left. Here a son was born (Johann Gotthard Ernst GROCKE [d. September 29th, 1841 (1 month 4 days)]) to Brother GROCKE (Johann Luis & Anna Elisabeth [d. September 21st, 1841 (37 yrs)]) of Zuellichau.
27th, Good wind.
28th, Calm. In view of the Martin-Vas Island, near the uninhabited island of Trinidad, the child of Brother August WEINERT, from B[rabant], Holland, died (Johann Ernestine WEINERT [d. August 28th (2 1/2 yrs)]).
Also, the child born to Brother GROCKE, was on the 29th, baptised. Today we saw a dead whale, to which the Captain rowed over, in a boat. Although, the sharks had eaten very much of [the carcass], many seabirds were upon it, that were as big as geese.
30th August, a weak wind.
Translation, after H. Prochno, by R. Grosser, 23/12/00.
1. In keeping with the register of births and deaths on the voyage, maintained by Pastor G. D. Fritzche (as copied from the Lobethal Register) the name of GROCKE, has been substituted for GROSSER, which was assumed to be the Surname, in the translation of the original handwritten German letter.
2. There is no district information, shown by Dr. Brauer, for August Weinert, in his work, 'Under the Southern Cross', thus the described region, is therefore, speculative (ie. BRABANT, insert by R. Grosser).
3. Initially, it was thought that the Island of Trindad [& Tobago], was the reference, made here by KLAR? If it was so, it doesn't fit the facts he'd previously described, post-St. Helena? Albeit, Gottfried KLAR was acutely precise in his observation, of the "uninhabited island of Trindad', in the (South) Atlantic. This small 'island of Trinidad', can be seen on the chartered maritime courses, to to Rio de Janerio of the late 18th Century (see 19thC Migration). In confirmation, see hereunder, the illustration of the South Atlantic Islands, from the CIA Factbook, 2000.
(See further discussion on the Klar Letter) |19.JL=Deutsche Literaturet:Englisch Literaturet:Russeun Literaturet|
Fig. 8 Australia in 1838 (University of Texas)
Upon arrival in Australia, simple services, in Neuschlesien, New Silesia or Bethanien [simplified later to Bethany], located about 2 km south-east of Tanunda in the Barossa Valley, was established by a group of Lutheran migrants who arrived with Pastor Gotthard Daniel Frietzsche in 1841. These early church services were held under a tree or in a tent or the huts of the parishoners, especially (Karl) Albert and Anna Grosser, who maintained their home as a spiritual meeting-place, for over two years, after their arrival. They were able to share with their Lutheran congregation, the realisation of the building of the Tabor Lutheran Church, in Tanunda, SA.
Fig. 9 The Australian National Colonial Flag in 1823 (Flags of the World)
Hail, Most Mighty [the Oldest Polish Carol]
There are now forums for requesting genealogical information about Silesian families that are hosted on a variety of services (German & International, German Academic, US and Australian), which provide links to some sources of information on German immigrant families. There are some extensive genealogy forums, of which http://genforum.familytreemaker.com/poland/ is one special service that can assist families of German descent, where their cities of origin, are now in Polish territories.
Fig 10. The Torrens River, winds through the City of Adelaide (in 2000), the capital of South Australia (SA), with the Festival Hall, set adjacent to the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, on the banks at left-centre. (Adelaide Convention & Tourism Authority)
Our family's grandfather was Emil August Grosser [2nd generation], the seventh child of Benjamin Dienegott Leberecht Grosser & Maria Bartusch. Emil was by trade a wheel-wright, fashioning coachwheels and in his retirement, gained national recognition for breeding award-winning pidgeons, and our grandmother, Florence Harry [2nd generation], who worked in her youth, as an inn-keeper, raised their family at Ophir, their homestead in Thebarton, in South Australia.
Fig. 11 "Two of the Natives of New Holland Advancing to Combat" in MURRAY-OLIVER, Anthony, Captain Cook's Artists in the Pacific 1769-1779.
([Christchurch], Avon Fine Prints, 1969)
This illustration appeared in Sydney Parkinson's Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas, in his Majesty's Ship The Endeavour ...
Our immediate family of Leslie Maxwell Grosser & Gwenda Jean Wright [3rd generation], left South Australia (AUS) in 1962 to move to New South Wales (AUS), where since the children David, Christopher & Richard [4th generation], have dispersed to Melbourne, VIC (AUS) and Southport, QLD (AUS), & to Christchurch, Canterbury, SI (NZ). The grandchildren have been, and are currently living, in London (UK), Verona (ITL), Sydney, NSW (AUS), Melbourne, VIC (AUS), Hobart, TAS (AUS), Perth, WA (AUS), Brisbane and Mount Tamborine, QLD (AUS).
It is trusted that their stories, too, will enrich their future descendandants, just as much, as the journey of discovery, of our late Prussian and German immigrant ancestors, to Australia.