Johannes WORNER 1827-1903

Johannes was from a family that had provided the village with the difficult and important service of cask making since Adam Worner had arrived from outside the boundaries of the state of Hessen in the middle of the 17th century. The art had been passed on from father to son for five generations and, as the elder son of Martin Worner born 1800, Johannes had the right to take over the business in his turn.

In 1850, at the early age of 22, Johannes married Elisabetha nee Reuter, grand-daughter of a burgermeister and council president. Elisabetha was nine years his senior and had been married to Philipp Koch until his death in 1848 at the age of 26. It is not known why Johannes chose this union but it seems to have been an unhappy one. There were no children born to this marriage, although she had produced two sons in her previous marriage and he was later to show that he was fertile.

Johannes applied for permission to depart Nieder-Weisel in Sep 1856 – together with Johannes Adami IV. He was on “Electric” out of Hamburg, reaching Melbourne on 26th December 1856. He must have prospected around Ballarat because it was there that he met Susanna Wilhelm, who arrived in 1855. They formed a close relationship that led to the births of a daughter, Margaret, in 1861 and a son, Conrad, in 1863. These children were registered in the name of Wilhelm so the parents were not married at the time, perhaps because Elisabetha Worner was still alive in Nieder-Weisel.

The next two children were registered as children of ‘John Werner’, but no marriage record has been found; all four were listed as John’s children on his death certificate. Johannes went with Susanna to the Rocky Lead district after the birth of her first child. Here, in 1864, he stood best man for Philipp Landvogt when he married Katharina Worner (widow of Johannes Adami), his sister. Four years later they went back to Ballarat where they spent the rest of their married life. John Philipp was born in Sebastopol in 1871, and in 1873 the birth of Catherine Christina completed their family.

When Johannes became too old for the heavy stress of underground mining he worked as a labourer to support his family; he lived into his 76th year. He died in his Sebastopol home on 11th October 1903, and was interred in the Old Cemetery in the same grave as Susanna’s mother, who had lived with the family until her death 25 years before. He was survived by Susanna and all four children.

Konrad Worner, born 25th December 1835, a brother of Johannes, arrived in Victoria in 1859. No evidence has been found of their meeting up in the colony, although it is likely that they did.

View Johannes's Family Chart

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