Katharina Elisabetha WINTER 1836-?

Of the eight sons of the master tailor Ambrosius Winter, Nikolaus and Konrad were the only two who elected to remain in the village. Nikolaus became a tailor, as his forebears had been for a century or more. He did not marry until he was 32, as was his bride, Katharina Lander, and consequently had a smaller that average family. Of 3 children, only the first, Katharina Elisabetha born 28th September 1836, was female. She was 17 when the exodus from the village began in earnest, and she was sent to Victoria with her uncle Jakob Winter and his wife Katharina. There was another Katharina Winter in the party, age 13; it is not known who she was. A second uncle, Johannes, his wife and their children were also aboard; they had spent some time in England and were able to teach the others the new language on the journey out. Their ship “Fulwood” arrived at Melbourne in mid-February 1855 after a tedious voyage of nearly 5 months.

At 17 years of age, Katharina Elisabetha would be expected to stay with the family group during the first uncertain years in the colony. This meant a stay in the gold mining centre of Ballarat before moving on to the Bendigo region. Later, when some of the family members struck out on their own, to places like Smythesdale, Katharina Elisabetha was old enough to make her own decisions. There was a constant demand for domestic servants, which would guarantee her employment wherever she chose to go in the Golden Triangle.

By the late 1850s Katharina Elisabetha was in the thriving town of Daylesford. Here she met – maybe in a maid/master relationship – a Danish emigrant who worked as a mining supervisor. Karl Friedrich Valentine was the 27 year old son of a purchaser, Hans Valentine, and his wife Carolina Moller. The relationship blossomed, and the couple married in the Lutheran Church in Ballarat on 28th January 1860 in the presence of Elisabeth Vorbach, spouse of John Vorbach, who was an illegitimate son of Katharina Lander.

The couple settled in the pretty spa town of Hepburn Springs. There Katharina Elisabetha had her first child, a daughter named Emma Louisa, on the second day of 1861. Three sons followed: Karl Frederick on 17th November 1862; Hans Thorwald on 14th October 1864; Karl Wilhelm on 15th July 1866. Katharina did not follow her village custom of having each baby baptised in the first few days of its life – they were all baptised on 7th May 1867 by Pastor Gottlob Worner from the Lutheran Church in Ballarat. The sponsors were Karl Magus Nelsen and Konrad Winter – who was either a brother or cousin to Katharina Elisabetha, probably the former; he had migrated to Victoria in 1856 and was then living very near Hepburn. Karl Valentine may have had either fore-knowledge or a premonition, because he died a few weeks after the children were baptised.

Katharina Elisabetha returned to her home village with the children. Frederick died there in 1875. On 17th May 1882, Emma Louisa and Karl Wilhelm left Bremen for New York with other emigrants from the village; perhaps Katharina Elisabetha found a home with her other son, Hans Thorwald.

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