Margaretha HAUSER 1841-1923

Margaretha was the youngest of three daughters of linen-weaver Peter Hauser and Susanna Haub to emigrate to Victoria – the other two were Anna Elisabetha and Anna Margaretha. It was not unusual for parents to send their children, especially the girls, away from the village, prefering to let them take their chances in the rough conditions of the colonies rather than to face the moral dangers in the village.

A ‘Margtt. Heuser’ was part of a large group of Nieder-Weiselerns including nine children, who left Liverpool on 24th October 1854 aboard “Glenmanna”, arriving at Melbourne on 14th February 1855 (about 4 weeks after Georg Fleischer & others from Butzbach docked on “Undine”). Born on 22nd July 1841, Margaretha was then 13 years old.

The party went to Ballarat and then on to Yandoit, near Daylesford, where a goldrush had started. Margaretha took a position in one of the seventeen hotels which lined the main street, working as a cook. Meanwhile, Georg Fleischer had started a wheel-wright business in Castlemaine but, in 1856 he dissolved the partnership with Louis Grundeman and moved to Yandoit. With some of his friends he searched for gold, with no great success, and then returned to his trade as blacksmith. Frequenting the Willow Tree Hotel he met Margaretha Hauser and they courted.

On 4th June 1860, the couple went to Castlemaine to arrange their marriage in the Congregational parsonage there, but the trip by horse and dray over the 25 km of wet and rough roads took so long that they decided on the spur of the moment to be married that day. Margaretha was especially disappointed that she was not able to wear the elaborate wedding frock that she had prepared; it also seems that they did not have time to contact her two sisters who were living in the area. The newly-weds returned to Yandoit next day, and set up their first home in a tent on the Sartori property; their neighbours were a band of aborigines on the other side of the creek. On 5th March 1861, their first child, Johanna Catherina, entered the world in this humble shelter.

George was naturalised in 1862 and built a home in Camp Street which he named ‘Butzbach’, after his home town. As the residence was extended, lodgings were provided for travellers and stables for the Cobb & Co horses which staged there. George continued to build up his smithing business, and sold building supplies. Later he built a brick dairy, the upper floor of which provided accommodation for circuit ministers who conducted services at the nearby Church of England.

Margaretha was kept busy rearing their growing family – George Gernand was born in 1863, Philipp Heinrich in 1865, Margaretha Elisabetha in 1867, Christina Dorothea in 1869, Anna Margaretha in 1872, and Egidius Carl Wilhelm in 1874. In 1862, Margaretha’s sisters moved to Yandoit and the Zimmer, Maas and Fleischer families lived, and the children played, in a little community which kept alive many of their home-land customs and traditions. However in 1868 Philipp Maas died in a mining accident and in 1872 John Zimmer succumbed to TB. Anna Margaretha stayed in Yandoit with her second husband, but Anna Elisabetha moved to Rocky Lead after she re-married.

George and Margaretha successfully raised their seven children and in time they all married. In 1910 most of the family gathered at Yandoit to celebrate George and Margaretha’s 50th wedding anniversary. George died three years after this event, but Margaretha lived on through the sad and bloody years which saw her adopted and native homelands engaged in combat. Margaretha had kept in touch with Susanna, the eldest child of her sister Anna Elisabetha, but this was interrupted when war broke out in 1914, bringing the realisation that Susanna’s sons were being sent to France to oppose their Australian cousins in battle – one of Margaretha’s grandsons did give his life on an unknown field. Margaretha had the right to vote, but, encouraged to demonstrate her patriotism by flying the Union Jack, she, instead, wrapped herself in the Imperial flag of Germany, sitting defiantly on her front verandah to show her anger against the stupidity of the war.

After the war, Margaretha lived on quietly for a little longer and, asked where she would like to be taken for a Sunday drive, she sometimes answered “Take me to Nieder-Weisel”. This longing could not be satisfied and the final link between the village and the sisters was severed when Margaretha died on 4th October 1923, and was laid to rest with George in the Yandoit cemetery. A handsome white marble monument bears witness to their long and fruitful lives.

View Margaretha's Family Chart

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