Anthes Family Tree : Migration to Australia

With no firm evidence available, it is interesting to speculate on why both Jakob and Friedrich Ludwig would leave Germany and why they chose Australia as their destination. We have heard that both boys were sent to Australia to avoid military service against relations, presumably in France. Both boys left Germany independent of each other, with Friedrich Ludwig's departure being after his eighteenth birthday. It is probable that Jakob also left at the same age some twelve months earlier. The age of eighteen is thought to have been the age for military service but whether that service was compulsory or not is not known.

We may presume that the family provided the money for fares as these costs wold have been considerable. Archive records indicate that Friedrich Ludwig was not an assisted immigrant under the Immigration Act and for a boy to have saved enough for such a journey, from wages, seems unlikely. It is odd though that despite the ongoing tensions in Europe, the war with Austria in 1866 and with France in 1870, no other sons were despatched nor any elect to migrate freely.

The departure of the boys in the early part of the 1850's was coincidental to the heavy European migration of the time following the discovery of gold in 1851. The vast majority of gold seekers disembarked in Melbourne for the riches of the Ballarat fields, but Friedrich Ludwig chose Sydney. He spent five years in Sydney before he ventured to the goldfields, hardly indicative of one whose prime reason for migration might have been gold fever. More likely Australia was chosen because of the favourable reports about Australia received from German settlers in South Australia who had migrated there throughout the 1840's. This large group had established farming and mining activities which were to impact greatly on the wealth and stability of the young colony.

So far nothing has been uncovered to tell us exactly when Jakob left Germany nor his activities prior to his marriage in 1877. We can, though, imagine that both boys must have had mixed emotions as they turned their backs on their parents in Frankfurt to commence their long journeys. The first leg of the journey would perhaps have been a coach trip through the heartland of Germany, north to Hanover and on to Hamburg. Steam trains were introduced to Germany in 1835 but is unlikely that the rail system of 1854 would have been extensive enough to cover to 300 or so miles between Frankfurt and Hamburg.

The port city would have been vastly different in shipping activity from Frankfurt with one on the Main River supporting barge type vessels and the other on the Elbe serving as a major seaport with tall ships. Locating the vessel at the docks is likely to have been tinged with excitement while walking up the gangway, prior to sailing, was probably performed with apprehension. The vessel chosen for the journey of Friedrich Ludwig was the "William Oswald", a 600 ton German craft with a crew of 16.

This vessel was almost certainly of timber construction, probably three-masted and accommodated twenty one passengers on that journey. It is not known if cargo was carried on the outward leg but almost certainly would have been carried on the return journey. The repeal of contentious sections of the Navigation Act in 1849 permitted foreign vessels to leave Australia laden, thereby assisting in reducing the passage costs on the outward leg.

The trip down the Elbe and out into the winter of the North Sea was to be the last time Friedrich Ludwig would see his homeland while the members of his family would remain only as a memory. His journey may have followed the "Great Circle Route" favoured in the 1850's, sailing far south of the Cape of Good Hope to Sydney and returning via Cape Horn. The sailing date of the William Oswald is not known, but an average journey at the time was 120 days. It arrived in Sydney on 11th April 1855 and is therefore likely to have embarked in early December. Allowing for the journey from Frankfurt to Hamburg it can be estimated that Friedrich Ludwig departed his home on or about his eighteenth birthday, the 24th November 1854.

Another migration of equal importance, and essential to our family history was that of Catherine Ellen Neil from County Cork, Ireland who was to become the wife of Friedrich Ludwig. Sadly, almost nothing is known of her prior to her marriage and the few clues to her origin are vague.

A shipping arrival entry for the vessel "Vocalist" which arrived in Sydney on 10th october 1856 included details of a Catherine Neil. This states that Cahterine Neil was 19 years on arrival, a farm servant by occupation, the daughter of Dennis and Ellen Neil, living at Millcoves, County Cork. She is recorded as Roman Catholic who could read and write, being in good health. Her brother, Dennis Neil was "at Mr John O'Sullivan's at Goulburn" and he paid Five Pounds R.R, possibly a bond for Return Reservation (?)

All noted passengers on the vessel were young ladies, perhaps encouraged to come to Australia to ease the imbalance of males and females exacerbated by the influx of single male gold diggers. Such encouragement continued for many years and it was not until after the First World War that the equation of one female to one male in Australia was reached. Throughout this early period assisted passages were offered to single ladies and in many cases jobs were provided on arrival.

Although it is most likely that this Catherine Neil was the one to marry Friedrich Ludwig, small anomalies to the information on the shipping list are evident on the death certificate for Catherine Ellen Neil. At her death in September 1919 she is given as aged 83 years, in the colony for 64 years and born in Evergreen, County Cork. Those figures would indicate that her year of arrival was more likely to be 1855 as she would have been aged 19 in that year. Her father's name is given as John Neil rather than Dennis.

It seems odd that she would settle and gain employment in Sydney if she was a farm servant, not electing to go to Goulburn and a possible farm life with her sponsoring brother. Her marriage in June 1857 seems a brief time from arrival to marriage and no references to her brother Dennis are noted other than the shipping notes. Neither her father nor her brothers name, Dennis, was assigned to her children but her first named son was called John which identifies to the John Neil shown on her death certificate and the name of her husband's father, Johann.

Search for her history has been hampered by the inability to locate either Millcoves or Evergreen in County Cork. It is possible that both locations had names of British origin and they may have reverted to their original Irish place names after the Republic was declared in 1949. Irish government birth records did not commence until 1854 and church records before that year would require knowledge of the correct parish or church.

It can be assumed that a number of Irish ladies of the name Ellen or Catherine Neil migrated to Australia last century and perhaps an alternate could be considered. For example, an Ellen Neil, a paying passenger on the ship Beatrice of Boston (777 tons), departed from Liverpool and arrived in Sydney on 30th April 1855, 19 days after the arrival from Hamburg of the William Oswald. This arrival date sits better with her period of settlement, courtship and marriage in 1857 and there may be a possibility that she was not a Catholic. Louie's wife married and was buried under Protestant rites and her children were christened also as Protestants. It may be wondered if an Irish Catholic girl would have relinquished her faith to that degree.