Christina MULLER 1841-1898

The sailing ship “Queen of the East” arrived in Melbourne on 24th Febuary 1858 after a journey of 101 days. Her 234 passengers included Christina Muller aged 15, daughter of the nail-smith Johann Konrad Muller and Anna Margaretha nee Schimpf, of Nieder-Weisel. Her age on the passengers’ list shows as 11, but it was customary to understate the ages of teenagers in such cases to avoid the payment of full fares.

Christina was the eldest of the four girls in the family. Four boys had been born also but two died in infancy. When Christina was 10, her mother died prematurely. Her father married again and decided to take his family to Victoria, other than the six year old, Juliana.

Konrad first tried his hand at mining. The family lived for a time at Fryers Creek near Castlemaine and later at Rocky Lead before settling finally at Italian Hill, near Daylesford. Christina was 21 by then and was expected to keep house for her father and the younger children after her stepmother went back to Nieder-Weisel. It was not until she was 37 that Christina was free to marry. Her husband was a miner who had migrated from Switzerland to work in the deep lead mines around Daylesford, some of which penetrated a kilometre or so into the hills.

After their marriage in late June 1879, Christina and Johann Rostetter lived in a tiny weatherboard and shingle-roofed cottage in East Street near the railway line from Daylesford to Ballarat. They had no children. Christina devoted her spare time and energy to the Salvation Army. She was one of their very first ‘soldiers’ in the Daylesford branch of the ‘Salvos’ and, in her red uniform capped by her black bonnet, she became a familiar figure in the town as she made her rounds selling copies of the War Cry in shops and pubs and homes.

John Rostetter had mixed fortune with his mining; he accumulated a quantity of gold which he buried in a secret cache before leaving on a long trip – perhaps back to Switzerland. When he got back the hiding place was lost forever under the waters of the man-made Jubilee Lake.

Christina’s health deteriorated in 1897, and kept her confined to bed. She died on 14th August 1898 and was buried in Daylesford Cemetery the next day in the presence of many of her friends and Salvation Army colleagues. John Rostetter lived for another seventeen years.

View Christina's Family Chart

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