The WEDEMEYERs of Eastern Australia, Chapter 3
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GHL in Gayndah
The image to the left shows the Burnett River & Gayndah, photographed in a direction ESE and 6 km from Mt Gayndah (345m). GHL's 165 acre farm is on a river meander & is highlighted and arrowed.
On the Emigration page, GHL’s "Memorial or Application for Naturalization" (dated 26 August 1858) i), mentions his prior purchase of Crown Land in the Gayndah District. GHL made two purchases in the Crown Land sale on 25 May 1858 ii). He forfeited his deposit on one lot and completed the purchase of a 1 acre and 1 rood allotment in Meson St for £37-10-0, which would be the site of his lodging-house business iii). In 1877, this block formed part of the "Government School" iii) in the centre of Gayndah. In modern times the Primary School residence (see photo beneath) is located on GHL’s land. His purchase gave him the status of Freeholder rather than a mere leaseholder on the Electoral Rolls iv).
GHL completed his Naturalisation requirements on 25 Oct 1858 in the Gayndah Police Court, when he "took the oath of Allegiance to our sovereign lady Queen Victoria." The local correspondent for the Moreton Bay Courier v) recorded GHL’s name and nationality as Lewis Wedemeyer, German, and said that the Naturalisation had been "detained in consequence of the rains" and that "for the past week our rivers and creeks have been impassable from the heavy rains… mails were detained… a gentleman was drowned the other day in the Bramba".
1858 continued to be a big year for GHL! Two days after making his allegiance, he successfully sued a Mr Hood in the Gayndah Small Debts Court vi). The first paper published in Gayndah was the “Burnett Argus and the North Queensland Advertiser” on 29 Apr 1861. A list of advertisers in this issue included Louis Wedemeyer, boots and shoes. GHL was back in court in 1862 vii), when he described himself as: "I am a shoe maker residing in Gayndah and I also keep a lodging house (in Meson St)....". Transcriptions of these cases give some insight into GHL’s life as a meticulous record keeper, as well as the rough nature of life at that time. We are also told of GHL as a significant employer …… one employee was Caroline JOHAN, who had been in GHL's "service for the last three years", which suggests that his lodging house started operation in 1859. Significantly for my branch of the WEDEMEYER family, the court reporter nearly always gave a phonetic type spelling of GHL's surname to a "WEDEYMERE" which must have been how GHL's neighbours and employees pronounced it. See the further discussion of the pronunciation of our family name here. GHL made prominent front-page advertising for his bootmaking in 1866 and 1867 in the Burnett Argus, see this sample here, taken from the 5 Jan 1867 issue. Louis WEDEMEYER must have been a smart businessman, his concept of "small profits and quick returns" in this advertisement, predated Woolworth's concept.
Sources: i) NSW State Archives. Certificate to naturalize under the provisions of the Acts of the Governor and Council, XI Victoria, No. 39, and XVII Victoria, No. 8. Register: Certificates of naturalization, No. 2, pg 359. 30 August, 1858.
ii) Queensland State Archives.Ref: SUR/4. Land purchases_ A Vol: No. 3, pg 240 . Land purchased in the Moreton Bay Region 1842-1860: Detail of Gayndah purchase 25 May 1858. Cross-referencing with: Plan G.1517.3 Suburban lots Sale at Gayndah on the 25 March 1858. Lots 2 to 41 allotments in sections 9 - 14.
Note: Louis forfeited his deposit on… Section 12, Lot 4, on the corner of Fielding St and Burnett Terrace. Louis completed his purchase of…Section 13, Lot 4, fronting onto Capper St. Capper St. was changed later to Meson St.
iii) Queensland State Archives. Rate and Valuation Book- Gayndah.
Note: Rates were levied on L. WEDEMEYER for a House/garden in 1867 on Section 13, allotment 4, in Gayndah. In 1877 the same block was still owned by L.Wedemeyer, but now it was described a Boarding House. The same year the block was subsequently described as a "Government School". The Burnett Argus Sat, Jan 26, 1867 described a milestone in Gayndah: "The first election of aldermen to our recently proclaimed municipality took place on last Wednesday (Jan 23, 1867)… we believe the 43 voters have acted wisely in their selection".
iv) NSW 1860 Gayndah Electoral Roll.
v) Gayndah Police Court. Moreton Bay Courier, Moreton Bay (Brisbane). Wed 17 Nov 1858:3.
v)i Gayndah Small Debts Court. Moreton Bay Courier, Moreton Bay (Brisbane). Wed 27 Oct 1858:3.
vii) Gayndah Police Court. Burnett Argus, Gayndah. Jul 3, 1862.
viii) The Central Burnett, Gayndah, Old History. Brisbane Courier. 13 April 1923: 7. See here.
GHL followed the business strategy of diversification from an early date. As well as bootmaking and lodging house keeping, GHL had started his family's interest in horses, which continues to the present date. Some of GHL's livestock were described in an advertisement in the Burnett Argus on June 19, 1862:
"£5 REWARD. Lost from Eastern Creek, a chesnut (sic) mare branded 33 off neck, J8 near shoulder, and a bay foal also, a chesnut mare branded (two inverted J marks) off shoulder. Any person will receive the above reward by delivering the same to Louis WEDEMEYER, Gayndah. FR. KLEICKER".
On 27 Sep 1862 when GHL was 37, he married Elizabeth DAVIS, daughter of John DAVIS & Ellen CREEVY, in "House of Mr WEDEMEYER", Gayndah. Elizabeth was born in 1839 in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, Ireland. Details of her story are given in the next chapter
From 29 Sep 1869 to 1 Jan 1871, GHL purchased 165 acres of leasehold i) fronting the Burnett River with an annual rental of £18/3/6d and spent £261/3/- in improvements up to 1880. The photo at the top of this page shows that land such as GHL's is now used for citrus orchards and are irrigated from the river level, which is raised by weirs.The position of his farm is highlighted and arrowed in that photo, while the photo beneath shows the tranquillity of the Burnett River next to his property.
There were many letters written by GHL about this leasehold to the Minister for Lands.
He commented after a land Sale on 18 May 1870 was that he wanted to take up a further 3 portions but had already spent all his available capital on the land. One of the more legible letters can be seen here to illustrate his style of correspondence. Note the two vertical strokes over the "Y" in WEDEMEYER. This is ornamentation without function, which was often seen in Germany in the 1700's, and was also used to record the WEDEMEYER name in the Goslar church registers in the early 1800's.
Source: i) Queensland State Archives: LAN/AG267. Selection… 165 acres. County: Bowen. Parish: Taughboyne. Portion nos. 29, 30,31.
The Story Continues
- Chapter 4: GHL's business interests in Drummers Creek & nearby Yarrol Reef.