Johann Konrad LEMP 1833-1889

Johann Konrad was from a farming family that had worked in the village for as long as records were kept, but which would virtually disappear when the mass emigration took place in the 1850s. Born on 27th October 1833, he was the third successive son born to Katharina Jung, the wife of Konrad Lemp. Seven more children followed, but two more sons and two daughters failed to survive.

Their family of nine had a struggle to survive on the wretched wages paid to Konrad as a daily-paid farm labourer, and the children saw no future for themselves in the village as they grew up. Things became even worse in 1854, when Konrad was killed when he fell from the mezzanine floor of a barn.

Katharina used her meagre savings to send her two oldest daughters, Maria Elisabetha and Susanna, to Victoria with a group of more than thirty villagers that left in 1856. Johann Konrad and the younger sister Elisabetha followed about eight months later. They were aboard “Annie Wilson”, leaving Liverpool on 31st July 1857 and disembarking in Melbourne on 7th November; the average age of the members of this party was just 20.

The lives of the other members of the Lemp family are fairly well documented, but this is not so in the case of Johann Konrad, who elected to remain single. Like most of the newcomers, he prospected in and around Ballarat, which is where he finally made his home. His three sisters were also living with their families in Ballarat – or close enough to enable him to keep in touch. Having no family to support, Johann Konrad would have accepted the obligation of financially assisting his widowed, and ageing, mother by remitting money back to her in her Bachgasse home until she died in 1871.

There were many other migrants from Hessen living in Ballarat, and Johann Konrad kept in touch with them through membership of the ‘Verein’, a mutual association formed to serve the German community. He was often amongst those officials who acted as pall bearers when a member of the club died.

Johann Konrad himself died in Ballarat in 1889 at the comparatively young age of 54; he was buried in the Old Cemetery.

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