Christoph KLEIN 1837-? & Katharina KLEIN 1836-?

The passengers list for the steam packet “City of Hobart”, which reached Melbourne on 31st August 1857 with 56 non-assisted German and Swiss passengers, has many omissions and inconsistencies, caused by the loss of manifests from the “Sir W F Williams” which carried the passengers to Hobart Town from Liverpool. Two entries that seem unambiguous are ‘Christof Clein’ and ‘Cathne Clein’, both 20. As with most of the passengers, no occupations or marital states are shown. The couple were with a group of about 25 migrants known to have come from Nieder-Weisel.

According to the Family Book in the parish church the only birth of a Christoph to Klein parents in the village in the period 1820-40 was that of the second son of the carpenter Philipp Klein (1797-1859) and his wife Anna Elisabetha Wilhelmi (b 1809), which occurred on 9th September 1837. His eldest brother, Johann Georg, was with the first organised group of villagers that went to the Victorian goldfields in 1854. Perhaps he influenced his brother to follow him.

It was uncommon for any villager to be married by the age of 20, so the Katharina Klein who appears on the passenger list with him was more likely to have been a blood relative than his wife. If so, she was almost certainly the daughter of the trader, Andreas Klein, and Anna Elisabetha Studt. This couple left the village for England seven or eight years after they were married in 1827. They had a daughter and two sons by then (Elisabeth, Martin and Jacob), and Katharina was born in August 1836, when they were living in Nottingham; she was baptised in St Mary’s Church. At the time of the 1841 census, Andreas and Elisabetha (anglicised to Andrew and Elisabeth Kline) were living in Northampton. Another daughter (Alice) and another son (Conrad) were born before Andreas took his family back to Nieder-Weisel. It is curious that the eldest daughter was confirmed in 1845, three years past the usual age. There is no record of the confirmation of Katharina or the younger children, suggesting that the family left the village again before 1850. Andreas died at Hull in February 1856

No further record of Christoph or Katharina Klein has been found in Australia. Christoph went back to Nieder-Weisel before 1866 – he was living in his home next to his widowed mother behind the Bachgasse in that year. A Catherine Klein, one of the daughters of Andrew and Elisabeth Kline married Peter Hings, a German immigrant tailor, in Hull, UK, in 1858. If, as seems likely, this Catherine Klein is the Katharina Klein who came to Australia in 1857, then her stay in Australia was a very brief one.

Also aboard “City of Hobart” was Conrad Marks and his wife Catherine. He was actually Konrad Marx II and she was his second wife, Katharina Adami. Konrad’s first wife, who died in 1852, was Anna Juliana Klein born 1826, the eldest child of Philipp and Anna Elisabetha Klein, the parents of Christoph.

Johann Georg Klein lost his life in a drowning accident early in 1859; he is buried in Smythesdale cemetery. Philipp Klein had died in 1859. The fact that Christoph was the householder infers that he was married; perhaps Katherine Klein really was his wife, in which case her identity is a matter for speculation.

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