Margaretha HAUB 1840-?

One of several unchaperoned young children aboard “Marco Polo” when she reached Melbourne on 27th February 1856 was Margaretha Haub, spinster, aged 14. With an upper limit of 11 years before adult fare rate applied, there was no point in either lowering or raising her age, which makes it certain that this Margaret was the daughter of Ambrosius Haub II and his wife, Anna Dorothea nee Haub. She was born on 16th August 1840 and baptised the following Sunday. In the absence in England of her sponsor, Margaretha Klein, an aunt, Juliana Haub, stood as godmother.

Margaretha had an older brother, Ambrosius, and a sister, Katharina Elisabetha; another son, Konrad born in 1844, completed the small family. In 1854 Margaretha finished her basic education, and made her first communion. Her sister, only 18 years of age, married in 1856, and a few weeks later their mother died. Presumably her parents had discussed their plans in this event, as Margaretha left the village three months later with several unmarried teenagers. Many parents preferred their daughters to be facing the rigours of life on the Victorian diggings than the increasing moral risks in their home village. The group assembled in Liverpool in November, and their ship sailed on the first tide on Wednesday, the 5th of December. Margaretha’s messmate was another Haub, Katharina, who was not however closely related; she was only 11. Members of Hauser, Heinz, Hildebrand, Klippel, Muller and Winter families made up the party of 20 emigrants from Nieder-Weisel heading for the diggings.

Because Margaretha did not marry in Victoria, her movements are almost impossible to trace. All the new arrivals went firstly to Ballarat, to meet up with friends and to “learn the ropes” in this new society, but most of them went on to other fields to prospect or, in the case of the girls, to find work as domestics. It is known that Margaretha’s companion, Katharina, was one of the very few who went into the western district, where she found a husband (who was probably her employer), and made her home in Warrnambool. Possibly Margaretha went with her initially.

Margaretha’s brother Ambrosius followed her lead, arriving on “Queen of the East” early in 1858, as one of the last big group to leave Nieder-Weisel. Ambrosius remained single, so it is possible that Margaretha became his housekeeper, at least until his death in 1876. It may be significant that he followed the Klippels and Winters to the northern goldfields around Beechworth – perhaps Margaretha had stayed with these “Marco Polo” companions.

No record has been found of Margaretha’s death in the colony. Almost one-third of the Nieder-Weisel immigrants eventually returned to the village and Margaretha may have been one of these, though her father had died in 1859 and her sister planned to migrate to California. Two of Margaretha’s second cousins – Heinrich and Johann Georg Haub, sons of her uncle Konrad – had also come to Victoria. The former returned in 1860 but the latter settled in Melbourne, where he operated a dairy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top