Konrad WINTER 1838-1911

Konrad Winter applied for letters of naturalisation in January 1899. He said that he was 6O years of age, a miner resident in Yandoit. His place of birth was Hesse-Darmstadt, and he claimed to have been in Victoria for 42 years since he arrived in February 1856 from Liverpool, on board the vessel “Mary”. He signed the application ‘Conrat Winter’ before Justice of the Peace T Gannon, who said he had known Winter for 2O years. These letters were granted on 2Oth February 1899.

The Nieder-Weisel Church records show that Konrad Winter was born on 29th July 1838 to the tailor and barber Nikolaus Winter and his wife Katharina nee Lander. (Nikolaus Winter, 18O3-187O, married 29th November 1835 Katharina Lander, 18O3-1874, a daughter of Johann Henrich Lander). Konrad was confirmed on the second day of Pentecost in 1852; this is the last record of him in the Family Book. Konrad had a sister Katharina Elisabetha born 1836 and a brother Philipp Konrad born 1843. His sister emigrated to Australia; she married Charles Valentine of Denmark in Ballarat in 186O. Konrad’s mother had an illegitimate son, Johann Konrad Vorbach, who migrated to Victoria in May 1857.

There is no record of Konrad’s voyage to Victoria but his account cannot be true as no vessel named “Mary” came out from England during this period. It may be that he travelled on “Merrie England” which reached Melbourne on 16th January 1857 from Liverpool; there was a small group of migrants from Nieder-Weisel on this ship. Konrad faced his conscription into the army at about this time and he may have used an alias as others had done.

Konrad Winter married Margaret Bennett, a Cornish immigrant, in 1885. Margaret died in Yandoit late in 1889 at the age of 53. In 1891, Konrad married Elizabeth Ann Cartasso from England. As would be expected there were no children born to either of these marriages. Konrad died in Yandoit in 1911; the informant to his death gave his age as 75; he was actually 73. The names of his parents are not given on the death certificate.

Because Konrad had no children it is not possible to trace his movements in the first three decades of his time in Victoria. He must have been living in Yandoit, which is about 12 km north of Daylesford, for at least 2O years. He would have been in contact with other Nieder-Weisel migrants there – the Hauser sisters and their husbands for example. His own sister lived at Hepburn Springs, out of Daylesford, in the early years of her marriage, and Konrad was a co-sponsor when all her children were baptised in Ballarat in 1867, which suggests that he was in contact with her till she returned to Nieder-Weisel in 1867. His half-brother Johann Konrad Vorbach settled in Daylesford. It is likely that Konrad was at the 5Oth wedding anniversary celebrations of George Fleischer and Margaret Hauser.

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