Konrad HAUSER 1838-1909

Most families in Nieder-Weisel lost one or more members during the upheaval of the 19th century, but there were few that were eliminated completely by the mass emigration. One of these was the family of Johann Georg Hauser and his wife Anna Elisabetha Hildebrand, descendants of two families, which had lived in the village for over 400 years. Of the eight children born to this marriage from 1833 till 1847, three sons died prematurely, and the other four boys emigrated. The only daughter in the family did marry in Nieder-Weisel, but went with her husband and their seven children to North America in 1889.

Konrad and Jakob were the first two to leave, going to England with their cousin Georg Schimpf. With 217 other hopefuls, they cleared the Liver Pool for Melbourne on “Ocean Chief” on 6th November 1855 with 82 days of pitching, rolling and yawing before them. The purser managed somehow to lose the passengers’ lists over-board and had to re-write them from memory; this changed Jakob into ‘Segar Hasuier’!. Stepping onto Australian soil on 26th January 1856, Konrad and his companions went to Ballarat and thence on to the Smythesdale diggings. A third brother, Philipp, arrived a month later and joined them.

In 1859, Konrad married Christina Haub, the youngest of three sisters who had fled the dangers facing them in Nieder-Weisel. Their marriage took place on 29th November in the small Lutheran Church at Smythe’s Creek where, less than three weeks earlier, Philipp had married Christina’s sister Katharina Elisabetha. Over the next 20 years Konrad and Christina would have ten children, five of each sex; only two of them failed to survive childhood.

Like most diggers, Konrad went from rush to rush as the news of gold strikes spread through the diggings. A year afterwards he had moved to Springdallah, several kilometres further south but, in 1866, he returned to Ballarat where he was informed of the death of his mother the previous December. Konrad invested his savings in wagons and horses, and set up as a carrier back in Smythesdale. He housed his growing family in a residence on the main road, Brook Street, next to the Commercial hotel, his brother Philipp being a close neighbour. Philipp kept in touch with their sister and through her they learned of the death of their youngest brother, Christoph, in 1868. The death of their father in 1870 finally ended the family’s long time association with the village of Nieder-Weisel.

Konrad and Christina remained in Smythesdale for more than ten years, with the older children going to the Smythesdale School while the younger ones busied themselves with the pleasures of childhood. In 1882, Konrad was badly injured when he attempted to stop a bolting horse; he suffered a shattered kneecap, the repair of which was beyond the skills of 19th century surgery. Next year their little daughter Gertrude, just past her second birthday, died of a childhood fever. Konrad sold his interests in Smythesdale and moved to Ballarat. He and Christina settled at 307 Errard Street, where they lived out their lives.

Their older sons married but moved away from the area, so they saw little of their grandchildren when they started to arrive. Konrad applied for naturalisation in 1898 and his letters were granted on 9th February 1899 so he was an Australian citizen when the States federated in 1901.

Konrad died at home on 9th August 1909, just a week before his 71st birthday and less than four months before the 50th anniversary of his marriage to Christina. His widow was naturalised in her own right later that year; she lived into early war years, and joined Konrad in the Old Cemetery in Ballarat on 1st April 1915.

View Konrad's Family Chart

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