Mr G.F. Angas's Kindness - By A. T. Saunders.
I agree with 'Australian Native and 'Returned Soldier' that the changing of such names as Hahndorf, Blumberg, and Grunthal was absurd, but I think that such names as Kaisers Stuhl, Rhine, and so on were correctly altered. I reiterate that the Lutheran pioneers were the debtors of South Australia, which owed no more debt to the Germans who came here in the early days than it did to the early emigrants from the United Kingdom, though Pastor Brauer and 'Australian Native' says that it does.
Firstly, the Germans were not pioneers except for some six or eight, for they did not come till 1838, when South Australia was two and a half years old and was 'booming.' Secondly, they had not to undergo the severe hardships of the British pioneer labouring men and women, for they were spoon-fed from the first, and acted in a body, while the British labourers were put on shore, and, after a few days in Emigration square, had singly and without assistance, to look after themselves. Thirdly, the Germans, thanks to George Fife Angas, had his clerk and attorney, Charles Flaxman, to look after them, sent for that purpose by him and consequently they had no trouble respecting land, as Mr. Angas provided it for most of them close to Adelaide, and they, on landing, settled on it. The British labourers not only had no land provided for them, but it was part of the policy of the South Australian Commissioners that they should be kept off the land except as hired labourers. The original instructions iterated and re-iterated that the price of land should not be raised unless the British labourers were buying it and settling on it. The smallest amount of land which could be bought by an individual was an 80-acre section for not less than £80. Fourthly, when the Germans arrived in 1838 and 1839, South Australia was booming, wages were high, work was plentiful, and the labour employers very vexed at the wages they had to pay and cracked up the Germans who were willing to work as gardeners for a small return. German women were mere slaves; they and the bullocks were harnessed to and pulled the plough which the man guided, and it was a boast that a German woman would walk from Hahndorf to Adelaide with butter, and walk back, laden or unladen. Fifthly, 'Australian Native' calls Hahndorf an unsettled wilderness, and says it was to cost the Germaus five pounds an acre. The Mount Barker district, before the German arrived, was well known. Hack brothers had a station there long before Dutton and Finnis bought the 4,000 acres of which Hahndorf was a choice spot, as Capt. Hahn wrote, and the £5 per acre,' payable on long terms, was a fair price for the picked 200 acres out of 4,000. 'Well Looked After.' I do not believe that any other band of emigrants left Europe so well looked after as the Germans were. Certainly no Australian emigrants before 1840 were so well treated, but all that is nothing according to Pastor Brauer, and South Australia owes them a debt of gratitude, which it did not pay, for deigning to come here.
Menge and Shrivogel (presumably a relation of the Indian missionary George Fife Angas mentions) arrived at Kangaroo Island in the first fleet in 1836. Shrivogel died in the Destitute Asylum; he was a messenger there and had been a bank clerk. Surveyor Leigh. of the South Australia (which was wrecked, was on Kangaroo Island for months), kept a journal which is in print. He says:— 'Mr. Menzies (a printer's error) has tried these nine months to raise a cabbage, but in vain,' and on 27/3/37 says:— 'Old Mr. M-- , the geologist, has enclosed a small spot of land, and may be seen with his German pipe in his mouth toiling from sunrise to sunset. . . . Old M-- , the mineralogist, is disgusted. The goats broke into his garden and ate his cabbages. A German by birth, he lives on tobacco smoke and pancakes. Unsocial and repulsive in his habits, he is equally rapacious, and niggardly in his disposition. If he can force himself into a dinner party there he is likely to remain dressed a la Daniel Dancer, a disgrace to the name of man.
I attach some extracts from the letters of the Rev. Kavel and his brother, and hope we have heard the last of this absurd claim that South Australians owe an unpaid debt of gratitude to the Germans who arrived here in 1838-9 which debt we South Australians' have not paid, and will not acknowledge:—
Some Old Letters.
Extracts from letter to Mr. G. F. Angas, England, from Rev. A. Kavel, Klemzig, near Adelaide, South Australia, 28/6/39:— My Dear Sir — It was by faith that you commenced more than three years ago a work quite unequalled in our days, so far as I know, it was by faith that you withdrew not your assistance when those who had engaged to support you despaired of success. When I first wrote to you from the sandy hill at the Port of Adelaide, surrounded by only scorbutic and weak brethren, opposed and ill advised by some influential gentlemen of this Colony, grieved about the embarrassments of Mr. --, who though very desirous to assist and locate us as a body of agriculturists and a Christian congregation, saw nothing but obstacles around him. Our way then was by no means clear, though we had reason to praise God, and did praise Him. Indeed, for having guided us to religious liberty. Mr. -- sections on the banks of the Torrens, that gentleman who takes so lively and prayerful an interest in the prosperity of this Colony, is the very place where the commencement has been made of cultivating the ground on a more extensive scale than had previously been attempted in the Colony. It is to be hoped that your sections will in a short time be as flourishing as your wishes for the welfare of South Australia. There is room for millions in New Holland, yea, in South Australia. I consider it a great blessing that Col. Gawler has been appointed Governor, for he Is a man of truly pious, sedate, calm, and firm character. I hope he will be a good barrier against such men as Mr. ---, who called our taking the oath of allegiance to the British Crown a mere farce. I and my people consider authorities as ordained of God (why not then the King of Prussia A.T.S.), and that we are obliged to obey them as children are to obey their parents. I hate slavery, and love liberty. We have much reason to praise the Lord, and those of us who have been suffering from sickness or have been obliged to part from their dear relations, those who have departed to another world, about 70 out of 500, resigned to the good will of God, praising Him for all he has done unto us. I never shall forget what you said in your kind address to us on board the Prince George, at Plymouth. Allow me to remain, my dear sir, and benefactor, your deeply obliged servant, A Kavel.
Mr. John Menge writes from Klemzig, near Adelaide,
23/5/39 and 2/6/39:— You will doubtless have noticed the praises whlch our friend Kavel's congregation has already earned among the English, and that we shall become English subjects to-morrow (the 24th), which is Her Majesty's birthday, and I am constrained to say that Mr. Kavel and his congregation were just the people wanting here, and that I now feel happy in residing among them, and in being useful with them to the Colony at large. We have now plenty of good land, plenty of water, plenty of cattle and sheep. But we want more people for agriculture and horticulture, in which there is nothing doing at all. We had a very dry year, and our Germans arrived at an unfavourable season, nevertheless they made gardens, and raised many vegetables without knowing the soil. As we expect rain we are all very busy in raising plants for transplanting as soon us rain sets in.
2/6/39. — The rainy season began yesterday. I have not ordered any plants or fruit trees, not knowing how long we may live in this place. I raised plenty of seeds in Kangaroo Island for garden vegetables, with which I supply all the Germans. I got some vines from the Cape, but they have suffered much during the dry season. The Germans are evidently under the eyes of Almighty God, who provides for them in this wilderness. They have their trials, but we are in general better off than most of the English emigrants.
'Liberty in Australia.' Ferdinand Kavel, brother of Pastor Kavel, writes from Adelaide, after describing the voyage from Hamburg to South Australia: — On Friday (18/11/38) we sailed between Kangaroo Island and Australia, and on Saturday we sailed past a wreck of a vessel from Sydney. We anchored on Sunday. My brother, Mr. Flaxman, the captain, and another, landed, and went to Adelaide, which is about six miles from the coast. Next morning the pilots conducted our vessel into the narrow serpentine harbour, which is difficult of access. We moved to a place called Port Adelaide, which lies about a mile from the harbour. We were then obliged to build huts. An Englishman offered us his field for that purpose. He did this gratuitously. The English also permitted in to use their church, built of boards which we did on Sunday and Wednesday, free from visits of police officers, and from any payment, for there is liberty in Australia. Here in Australia no one scoffs at us hitherto. Respecting our voyage. 14 died, seven children and seven adults. My father, 73 years old, the patriarch of the party, and my equally aged mother, survived the voyage, my father not even being seasick. We have taken one or two sections of land on lease for seven years, and shall build homes and cultivate the ground. Labour here is high, and the labourer is well off at long as the rich can pay him or require him. Four weeks after we landed the Zebra arrived at Port Adelaide, and brought the second division of our brethren from Zullichan. They lost eight by death. They took possession of the huts we had left, and were equally glad to be able to land. When they were on the point of looking at some land near us, also owned by Mr. Angas, with the intention of farming it. Mr. Dutton bought 4,000 acres in a district which far surpasses ours, as it lies behind and between hills, and is not unlike the Sine's scenery. Mr. Dutton being acquainted with the German mode of farming (Dutton and his brothers, if not born, were reared in Cuxhaven. where for 40 years their father represented Great Britain) having studied it under a well-known German farmer, Mr. Councillor Thaer, and been many years in Germany, was glad to meet with Germans for his tenants. Our brethren are now moving thither.
They will undertake, first of all, to render about 50 seresarable, have the care of oxen and cows, which their landlord will send them from Sydney, and thus commence their labours. During harvest their landlord will provide them with food and give them the use of his cows, which they will tend and milk, and every one will then see how it will fare with him. If the gentleman pleases the Germans and their management pleases him, he may shortly lease or dispose of the land to them. Mr. Dutton has also promised to exert himself towards making provision for a church and school, by obtaining pecuniary aid, and generally speaking intends to form a German town there. It is Mr. Dutton's wish, and that is saying much, for an Englishmen, that should constitute a regular Germany colony. Three weeks after New Year's Day (1839) the Catherina arrived, with the third company of brethren from the Duchy of Posen. They were 130, and only lost four on the voyage. The Lord bless the dear Hamburghers again, and reward them on the day of recompense for the kindness shown to his members, and cause us to ask ourselves, 'Am I also a Christian, a Lutheran, a member of Jesus!' It is said that the last arrivals will probably be placed near us. They now occupy our old huts. There are now about 500 Lutherans in South Australia. If more come, writes Mr. Kavel, let them bring (and here follows a list. Preserved fruits of all kinds are good, because a craving for them is often felt, and they are rare and dear here. Well smoked hams and bacon are recommended, wine and corn spirit, which are cheap in Germany, and the latter more so in Hamburg, are not out of place. He who can do it with a good conscience might bring these, wine and spirit, hitherto as well as preserved fruit. Flour in casks is dear here, and a cargo brought out by some emigrating Lutheran might be disposed of to great advantage. Fine cloth is also valuable, but it ought to be of very fine quality, and if possible, Saxon twilled. — Ferdinand Kavel.