Johannes HAUSER 1813-1891

The first group of migrants from Nieder-Weisel to reach Victoria included the carpenter Johann(es) Hauser, 37. He was a son of Johann Jakob Hauser IX and his wife Katharina, nee Riegelhuth. Born on 21st March 1813, he was the second of three sons; a girl who was born in 1820 made up a smaller than usual family. The eldest son died in 1842 at the age of only 30.

Johannes married Eva Heinz, the youngest daughter of the local glazier, Johann Friedrich Heinz, and his wife Anna Margaretha nee Hauser (both of whom were dead) on 5 May 1839. The couple produced two daughters before Eva died in January 1844, not 30 years of age; the older girl died just before the mother. Left to raise his younger daughter, Anna Margaretha, Johannes looked for another wife and, five months later, on Sunday 23rd June 1844, he was married to Anna Elisabetha Bill, seventh child of Johann Adam Bill and Christina nee Haffer (born more than fourteen years after their sixth child).

Anna Elisabetha gave birth to a son, Jakob, on 15th December 1845; this was to be the only child. In 1853, in company with two other family men, the joiners Jacob Krausgrill and Konrad Loh, Konrad travelled to the northern seaport of Hamburg by the railway from Frankfurt which had just been completed. The trio sailed on the “Wilhelmsberg” for the distant port of Melbourne on 17th May, reaching their destination on 25th August.

The purpose of the trip was to make an assessment of the situation on the Ballarat goldfields for the benefit of the many villagers considering the pros and cons of trying their luck as prospectors around the diggings for a year or two. Konrad and his travelling companions accordingly visited the various sites to experience the hardships and the occasional thrills of this strange existence. The reports they sent back must have been favourable, as the following year saw the beginning of a mass emigration from the village which brought over 15 percent of its population to the Golden Triangle, all seeking the lucky strike which would bring an end to the misery of their lives in their unhappy home town.

Johann Hauser went back to Nieder-Weisel, but the thirst for adventure had not been fully quenched; he later went to North America, making his way to the west coast (as did Konrad Loh). His son Jakob was confirmed in San Francisco on 24th April 1859.

Johann returned to the village towards the end of his life; he died in Nieder-Weisel on 9th May 1891, aged 78.

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