The first German immigrants to northern NSW that I have found were brought to the north by the great AA Co in 1825.
Founded by act of the British Parliament, the Australian Agricultural Company had been awarded the right to select a million acres for agricultural development. A key aim was to meet British demand for wool.
The initial area selected extended from Port Stephens to the Manning River. The land proved unsuited to sheep.
After lobbying by the company, the Secretary of State for the Colonies advised Governor Darling in 1830 that the AA Co was to be permitted to select land in the interior of the colony to replace an equivalent area of the initial grant at Port Stephens, while retaining mineral rights to the area. The decision over mineral rights was to prove important, for it was to form the base for an AA Co monopoly of the northern coal industry.
That’s another story. After an inspection in 1833, the company selected the Warrah Estate of 249,600 acres west of Murrurundi along with Goonoo Goonoo, (313,298 acres) south of Tamworth. The Goonoo Goonoo grant included the left bank of the Peel River. West Tamworth started as an AA Co town.
Not surprisingly, the first five German immigrants in 1825 were indentured shepherds brought out on seven-year contracts to look after company sheep.
In the early 1830s, Frederick Backer from Mecklenburg was appointed merino studmaster at Brindley Park, making him perhaps the first New England merino studmaster. His appointment proved to be a success.
Wool was not the only area German skills were in demand. In 1835, Governor Bourke announced a bounty scheme to subsidise employers to bring out free labourers to the colony. This included provision for non-British migrants provided they were viticulturists or able to manufacture wine or oil, skills not available in the colony.
In 1838, William Macarthur brought six wine-growers and their families from the Hattenheim area of the Duchy of Nassau to improve his vineyards. In 1841, he won awards in London for the wines and brandy he had exhibited.
To this point, German immigration had been small scale. The 1840 decision by the British government to suspend transportation of convicts to NSW transformed the labour market,
The way was now clear for large-scale German immigration, migration in which Wilhelm Kirchner would play a key role.
Jim Belshaw’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs at http://newenglandaustralia.blogspot.com.au/ and http://newenglandhistory.blogspot.com.au/
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