The following Family History Notes were compiled by Reg Butler (Hahndorf Historian).
Please refer to the Disclaimer and other Information on the Family Histories Index.
Family History Notes - Siedel
Beaver Rock Family Reunion - Seidel, 5 March 2006
Descendants of Carl and Marie Seidel. You have gathered at Beaver Rock to commemorate the centenary of a tremendous act of faith – the decision these two people took to move their family overland over half a continent in search of a better life for themselves and their descendants.
Both parents had plenty of immediate family example to inspire them. Carl and Marie’s respective parents – the Carl Seidels and August Wegeners – had arrived in South Australia as children, when their own parents, involving four separate families, decided to leave their German homeland at various periods during the 1840s and 1850s. This particular migration must have indeed been a great wrench – none of the people involved ever saw the land of their birth again and had to re-establish themselves in surroundings almost completely foreign in every respect.
However, the Seidels and Wegeners made a go of things – they gradually adapted to life in an English-speaking country, and for people close to the soil, had a wonderful chance to farm far greater tracts of virgin land than they could have ever hoped to achieve in Europe.
History repeated itself, but less severely. Both Carl and Marie Seidel themselves were born in the Adelaide Hills, but moved as very young children to the Palmer area on the Murray Flats, a good day’s journey by horse and waggon to the east of their respective birthplaces at Lobethal and Springton. Despite the attraction of flatter and more plentiful land, life was still a struggle where water was scarce and the seasons could be dramatically uncertain for primary producers.
Following their marriage at St Paul’s Lutheran Church Palmer in 1888, Carl and Marie Seidel settled on 350 acres of rented farm land between Palmer and Mannum. Daily life soon became an extremely full round of duties involving working the farm, raising nine children and supporting the Palmer Lutheran Church. Increasing numbers of Seidel and Wegener relatives lived near by, or were within an easy day’s journey, so handy for regular family social occasions apart from church functions. Living conditions were comfortable, without being lavish.
Suddenly, the Carl Seidels’ landlord, the Australian Mining Company, based in London, decided to sell up its Australian real estate completely during 1905. Yes, international corporations were busy at this game a hundred years and more ago.
A life-changing decision had to be made fast. Carl Seidel decided against buying his farm, which had been under the plough for some forty years. He reasoned that his family would be materially better off by investing in the virgin soils of the 80,000-acre Walbundrie sheep station being resumed for agriculture between Albury and Walla Walla, west of the Great Dividing Range in New South Wales, where his Wegener brothers-in-law were heading. The two eldest Seidel sons, Ben and Harry, were strapping teenagers, well suited to face long hours of toil in forming a new property, but how easily would a dearly-loved wife in rather delicate health and responsible for two infant twin sons survive the long interstate journey, let alone the rigours of pioneering life?
Thorough planning, inspired by trust in a loving God to guide, eventually brought the whole Carl and Marie Seidel contingent, through a combined effort of horse and waggon and steam train, safely to the family’s newly-created 687-acre mixed farm, soon christened Beaver Rock in honour of an evocative granite formation near the homestead. New neighbours included other former South Australians who had pioneered the district during the 1860s. In the fullness of time, three of that first generation of Seidels at Beaver Rock would marry into the Lieschke and Wiesner families of those foundation 1860s arrivals.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the 130 descendants of Carl and Marie Seidel of Beaver Rock have long outgrown these much-loved origins. Now resident in most states of Australia with a handful overseas, family members continue to bring joy wherever they have made their home – with a wonderful gift for hospitality, musical entertainment and jovial story-telling. It is indeed fitting that the Beaver Rock Seidels should today celebrate in fine style on their home turf.
In 2006, the centenary of Beaver Rock Farm, the early 1900s founding years are poised to pass from living memory into history. Wonderfully, Carl and Marie Seidel’s daughter-in-law - known variously as Mum, Grandma and Auntie Tonie – survives as the sole witness within the family circle to those early days of faithful struggle to become established. Those of you well-versed in family legend know how twin son Lorrie Seidel eventually pulled a bit more of South Australia across the border – when he devised a strategem to marry his beloved cousin from Lobethal. However, Lobethal has exacted its sweet revenge, because loyal citizen Geoff Hein later made off with Lorrie and Tonie’s eldest daughter, Betty, who in a moment of weakness recently admitted to me that she is now a South Aussie.
Sadly, I lack the stamina of the Beaver Rock Seidels. The constant humidity and high temperatures of this summer have persuaded me not to come to deliver these thoughts in person as I originally intended. However, I thank you heartily for giving me the honour of the chance and wish you all the best as you relax and reminisce.
Remember – you have performed yeoman service for the descendants of our common ancestors, Carl Friedrich and Elisabeth Seidel. This family has a great gift for producing girls, leaving the Seidel-Wegener combination light years ahead in keeping the Seidel surname alive. Perhaps you could even drink a toast to that achievement.
God bless you all.
REG BUTLER (another product in the slip-up over the Seidel surname)
Dear Merrilyn -
Please find enclosed the speech which I hope will be satisfactory for the great Carl Seidel reunion on 5 March at Beaver Rock.
Wishing you and the committee all the best as you put the final details in place. These gatherings are a real exercise in logistics.
With warm cousinly greetings.