Immigration to Beenleigh, and Nanango Queensland

Immigration to Beenleigh, and Nanango Queensland

Paul (1775) and Margreth’s eldest daughter Telsche (1809) was given her paternal grandmothers first name.   She married Johann Paulsen (b.16.1.1808, Oestrade, son of Hans Paulsen and Margareta Lehmann; d. 14.7.1899, Wohrden)  in Albersdorf on 3rd November, 1837, when she was 28,  and they had at least 1 son who they named Hans who born in 1838,  Schrum.     Telsche died 14th July 1876, in the same little country village  Schrum she was born, aged 67.

Her son Hans Paulsen married Anna Margaret Freese on the __________  (b. 13.2.1842, Wohrden), and they had 1 son,  Claus Johann Heinrich (29.11.1881, Wohrden).  Hans and Anna Margaret decided to immigrate to Australia with their young son Claus Johann.    German immigration at this point was well and truly established with many Dithmarschens immigrating to distant lands, mainly America but also Australia, for a variety of religious, political, and social reasons.  We can only wonder why they choose to immigrate.  This period was a time of particularly high emigration from Germany due to the overpopulation in some states, and also a fear of being caught up in Prussia's wars against Denmark, Austria and France,  and so Queensland's immigration program would have been attractive to a young couple who weren’t afraid of hard work and a little adventure.

Under the Queensland Immigration program, settlers received free passage (paid by the employer), good wages, and the right to select land to the value of £12 once their compulsory period of service (usually 2 years) to a local employer was over.    This program was promoted in Germany, and after hearing about the attractive deals offered to German immigrants to come and settle in Queensland, it must have been attractive to Hans who was a carpenter.

Hans and Anna, with their 2 year old son Claus Johann, boarded the Dorunda  at Plymouth on 27th September, 1883.  The Dorunda was a large iron hull ship with one funnel and three masts rigged for sail, and carried 237 passegers.    They arrived less than 8 weeks later on the 14th November, 1883 at Brisbane.

The Dorunda. Taken as rounding Kangaroo Point, Brisbane.

They settled in Beenleigh, and stayed there for 18 years.  The European settlement in the Beenleigh district had began with German Lutheran farmers at Bethania in 1864, on the Logan River, about 6 km north-west of Beenleigh, and within a few years there were German-speaking farmers in the areas now known as Beenleigh and Waterford.  At the time the Paulsen’s arrived there was a well established small community including a school, police station, and court.

View of George Street near the intersection with 
City Rd, Beenleigh, 1886
Hans and Anna have a 2nd child, a daughter who they called Katherina.  I havn’t been able to find where she was born.  She was known as Trina.   Seven years after arriving in Beenleigh, Katherina Paulsen was severely burned while baking bread on 14th April, 1891.  She was making the fire in the outside brick oven, when she caught on fire.  The fire took hold of her clothing and  her legs were severely burned.   The Chemist, Mr Just, was called to go and help, and he cared for her over the next 7 days, using carron oil, and other simple remedys.  Hans said he could not afford to send for the doctor.    On the day she died her brother-in-law, Mr Stark, sent for the Doctor, but it was too late.  She died on 20th April.  The coroners report is attached below.   From this we can assume there is another sister in the family, still to be identified.

They stayed in Beenleigh for 18  years, before moving to Nanango in 1901.  I havn’t investigated what their reasons for moving to Nanango were after 18 years in Beenleigh, or what their subsequent life was like.  During this time young Claus Johan had become a Carpenter like his father, and had married Queensland girl Emma August Elizabeth Bartz who was born in 1887 at Boonah, near Ipswich Queensland, and they had a daughter Gladys Paulsen who was born in 1919.    Claus decided to become a Citizen of Australia in 1907 when age 26, and having lived most his life in Queensland.  We can only imagine that he felt a strong attachment for his new homeland in Australia.

Claus Johann’s father, Hans, died in 1916, at age 78, this notice was printed in the Courier Mail , Tuesday 26th June, 1917.

“Found Dead in Bed.
Hans Paulsen, who has followed the calling of an undertaker and cabinetmaker in Nanango for the past 20 years, was found dead in his bed on Friday morning. He apparently passed away peacefully in his, sleep, as he was in his usual good health before retiring on Thursday night. Deceased was a native of Holstein, and was 70 years of age. A post-mortem examination is to be held.”

Anna died the same year.    I believe there are gravestones for Hans and Anna in the Nanango cemetery.  There are living relatives still in the area.  Telsche died in 1867, and so most likely never saw her son married.  We can only imagine what Hans Paulson Snr must have thought to see his son, with his wife, and his firstborn grandchild immigrate to Australia, or the reaction to hearing the news of Katherina’s horrible death after being burned.   There are no records of a return journey, so it is likely that they never travelled back for a visit.

Newspaper report of Katherina's accident