Peter KISSLER 1854-1929

Born on Friday, 3rd March 1854, Peter was only three years old when his parents Johannes and Elisabetha Kissler left Nieder-Weisel on the first part of the long and tiring journey to the colony of Victoria. For Peter, his older brother, Johannes, and sister Margaretha, the sight of waving masts in Liverpool harbour must have been exciting, but the fourteen-week voyage which began on 27th May would hold long-remembered fears for the little boy. Their vessel, “Sir W F Williams”, had to batter her way through cyclonic storms to reach the Australian continent. In the safety of the harbour at Hobart Town, Peter was at last allowed to go up on deck to play while they waited to be transferred to a Straits steamer, but it was not until 31st August that they landed at Melbourne.

Johannes took his family to the Ballarat district, where Peter spent the next five years of his life, mainly at Invermay on the northern outskirts. Then the family spent three years at Scarsdale, towards the southwest, before settling in Ballarat East.

Peter’s father died suddenly in 1872 and Peter was called upon to help his mother financially. He was married in 1881 to Emily Thomas, daughter of John Thomas and Mary Ann Pelmer of Ballarat; she was 22 years of age. The celebrant was Georg Meyer of the Lutheran Church. The newly-weds established a home at 21 Geelong Road, Ballarat East where their eight children would be born over the next twenty years: Elizabeth in 1882, Peter George in 1884, Henrietta Victoria 1886, Martha Clara 1888, Emily 1890, Anne Louise 1892, William Frederick 1893, Freda Minnie in 1900.

Peter supported his growing family by operating a cartage business between Ballarat and Geelong. He became naturalised in 1894, which entitled him to vote in the referendum leading to the federation of the Australian States. Like many other citizens of German extraction, he suffered the special agony of losing a son to the Great War against Germany; William fell in action on 3rd August 1918, during the last bloody land battle in France.

Other than Freda, all the other children married, and both Peter and Emily lived to greet all their grandchildren – and then the first of the great grand children.

Peter died three weeks after he turned 75; he was interred at Ballarat on 28th March 1929, in the grave in the New Cemetery where his mother, Elisabetha, had been buried twenty years earlier. Emily also lived into her 76th year; she joined her husband on 21st November 1935.

View Peter's Family Chart

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