Australia Day – A Letter Home…If only you were here

Australia Day celebrations are at the end of the month and it reminded me of what the day means to me personally. I am so grateful to my Great Great Grandparents who immigrated here in the 1800’s from England, Ireland, Scotland and Germany. They did it tough in the wilds of Australia, to give me and my relatives a better future than what they knew of.

One strain of my family tree – the Scholls from Germany, settled in Mt Whitestone at the foot of the Toowoomba Range, Queensland in 1868. They reared 14 healthy children all of who helped work the land both in crops and cattle. The last time I visited there in 1983 for a family reunion, the old farmhouse was still standing and parts of it looked very similar to this old building I shot near Childers recently.

Johann Scholl my great great grandfather was 18yo when he dreamed of owning lots of land. He thought he would try his luck overseas in Australia, a big vast country he had heard so much about.

This letter is an imaginary one based on known facts about his life.
A letter to his mother in Germany who he never saw again…..

26th January, 1880

Dear Mother

I hope this letter finds you well. It has been seventeen long years since I left Herbelhausen. You will be pleased to know that through hard work and efforts I am now the owner of 160 acres here in Queensland, with plans to buy more. It is a far cry from the crowded cities of Germany! If only you were here Mother to enjoy the fruits of my labor…..
I was fortunate enough to obtain work as soon as I arrived…a herdsman on the Darling Downs, building the railway line between Dalby and Chinchilla, tin mining at Stanthorpe, and building stock fences at St George.
You now have a new daughter-in-law – Johanna Dornbusch a lovely hardworking girl from the old country as well as six grandchildren with more on the way!
I have built a home for our brood with the help of the local aborigines and Peachy helps Johanna with the children.
It can be pretty tough going here….floods and droughts have ruined the crops over the years but I would have it no other way …….Australia is a country full of countless possibilities Mother, a land of plenty….

if only you were here….

Your loving son
Johann

Australia Day – A Letter Home…If only you were here

Holly Kempe

Sunshine Coast, Australia

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