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Although German immigrants continued to arrive in Australia, in this decade the numbers decreased, due to economic depression in Australia and improved employment prospects in the strong new Germany which had been united in 1871. The industrial boom in Germany required labour, and the Imperial Government in fact tried to discourage emigration from the Fatherland to Australia. However, between 1850 and World War I German settlers and their descendants remained the largest non-British group of Europeans in Australia.


Hermann Heinicke, violinist and conductor, arrived in Adelaide. At the age of 10 he had entered the Dresden Conservatorium of Music. He established his own orchestra in Adelaide and in 1898 joined the staff of the newly-formed Adelaide College of Music.


Up until the discovery of gold at Coolgardie in 1892, and especially at Kalgoorlie in 1893, Western Australia had never received many German settlers, compared to other Australian colonies. The huge gold rushes that started then brought some German-speaking adventurers to W.A. Most of them did not arrive from Europe, but were settlers travelling across from the eastern Australian colonies. In 1891 W.A. had only 290 Germans; by 1901 the number was 1522.


Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the Austrian throne (and whose assassination at Sarajevo in 1914 led to the start of the First World War), visited Australia and wrote approvingly of the country, though he noted the likelihood of it becoming an economic competitor for the Austro-Hungarian Empire in agriculture.


The first Swiss Club in Australia, the Swiss Club of New South Wales, was established in approximately this year.


Gustav Weindorfer, born in Spittal, Austria, arrived in Melbourne and became a member of the Victorian Field Naturalists' Club. In 1905 he moved to Tasmania and married Kate Cowle. They pioneered bushwalking in the Cradle Mountain area of Tasmania. There they built the Waldheim Chalet. After the death of his wife in 1916 Weindorfer lived at Cradle Mountain. He made the area popular for bushwalking. Today Cradle Mountain and the Waldheim Chalet are among the most popular destinations for nature lovers in Australia.


On the 2nd December the Swiss lawyer and skiing champion Xaver Mertz from Basel left Hobart with Douglas Mawson's first Australasian Antarctic Expedition. He was the only non-English-speaking member of the party. After the tragic loss of the supplies down a crevasse, Mawson and Mertz eventually had to eat the husky dogs, and Mertz, who was more-or-less vegetarian, died from poisoning from the dogs' livers on 7 January 1913. Mawson gave Mertz's name to the glacier where Mertz died.


The First World War broke out, striking a massive blow against German culture and German-Australians, amidst the hysterical pro-war, pro-Britain euphoria. Australia's first shot in the war occurred on 5th August as Fort Nepean fired across the bows of the Pfalz, a German merchant ship trying to escape through Port Phillip Heads. The steamer, whose passengers included a group of German scientists who had attended an ANZAS congress in Melbourne, was forced to return to Melbourne. Australian troops saw their first action and suffered their first casualties when they captured the German garrison at Rabaul in the German colony of Neubritannien in present-day Papua New Guinea.
Effects of the War on German Australians...

The Australian government banned immigration from Germany until 1925. In 1919 imports from Germany were banned for five years, though the ban was lifted two years before its expiry.


Bert Hinkler, the son of a German-born stockman, made the first UK-Australia solo flight, breaking the record of 28 hours set in 1919 by Keith and Ross Smith. Hinkler, who was born at Bundaberg in Queensland on 8th December 1892, completed the journey in 16 hours, flying Avro Avian G-EBOV.


Many refugees, intellectuals and German Jews fleeing persecution under Hitler's regime arrived in Australia, often via ports in other European countries or via North America.


dot point Swiss painter Sali Herman arrived at Melbourne. He had studied painting in Zürich and in Paris, and had travelled widely in Europe and America as an art dealer for 14 years before coming to Australia. He was an official war artist in the SE-Asia area in 1945-46. Some of his most popular paintings have been sympathetic images of Sydney slums and old buildings. Herman has also painted portraits and outback scenes. Winner of Australia's prestigious Wynne Prize for landscape painting in 1944, 1963, 1965 and 1967.

Image: logo of Musica Vivadot point Walter Andreas Dullo from Königsberg in East Prussia arrived in Sydney with his wife on the Rendsburg on 11th September as a refugee fleeing from the Nazi Government in Germany. He was a trained lawyer, but the Nazi Government stopped him from working as a lawyer. Having brought with them second-hand chocolate-making machinery, he and his wife set up a chocolate business, and with his Austrian friend Richard Goldner he established a chamber music group. Later they founded the Sydney Musica Viva Society, with its first concert held on 8 December 1945. Musica Viva Australia is now the world's largest presenter of classical music, organising around 2,500 concerts each year across Australia and around the world, with performers ranging from soloists to chamber orchestras. Musica Viva also runs a successful program bringing live music performances into Australian schools. Walter Dullo was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1977.


Particularly after Germany's annexation (Anschluss) of Austria and up to the start of World War II, many Austrian refugees arrived via other European countries, North America or Asia. Many, though not all, were Jewish, or had a Jewish spouse, or simply had no wish to hang around in Hitler's Reich. Vienna had long had a reputation as a cultural centre of Europe, and many of these 38ers (as they were called) were professionals and intellectuals who contributed a lot to Australia's artistic and academic life after the war.  Companies that were established after the war by 38ers, und that are household names in Australia include Red Tulip, Hestia and Vulcan. Sir Gustav Nossal, the immunologist and "Australian of the Year 2000", is the child of a 38er.

The Austrian Karl Anton Schwarz arrived in Sydney and set up an insurance business. During the war he served in the Australian Military Forces. After the war he played a key role in forming the Ski Tourer Association of the Australian Alps. He and his fellow ski fans established Thredbo Village in the Alps, and he is considered the "Father of Australian skiing." Sites on Australia's ski fields that are named after him are: the Anton Ski-Run at Thredbo, the Anton-Hütte at Mount Hotham, and Mount Anton in the Kosciusko National Park.

Wolfgang Sievers, considered to be one of Australia's greatest photographers, arrived in Sydney. He had studied photography at the famous Bauhaus school of art and design and had to leave Germany because of his Jewish background. In Melbourne he opened a studio in South Yarra, and during the Second World War he joined the Australian Army. He wasn't allowed to serve overseas, as the Australian authorities did not trust German refugees. After the war he became very successful with his photos of modern architecture and industry. The photos of industry celebrated the role of the worker and his tools. His photo "Gears for Mining Industry" was part of a series of stamps produced by Australia Post for the 150th anniversary of photography in Australia.
Interview mit Sievers (in German)


dot point The world-famous Vienna Boys Choir was in Australia when war was declared and had to stay here. They were looked after by Melbourne's Catholic community. Only two of them chose to return to Austria after the war.

Photo: George Dreyfusdot point One of Australia's best-known composers, George Dreyfus (born in Elberfeld, now part of the city of Wuppertal), arrived in Australia at the age of 11 with his parents in order to escape persecution by Germany's Nazi government. He studied at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and became a bassoon player at Melbourne's Her Majesty's Theatre (1948-52) and in the ABC Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He has composed music for film (around 35 Australian films) and television, most notably the “Theme from Rush” (a drama series set on the Victorian goldfields in the 1850s), operas, symphonies, much chamber music and music for children. Dreyfus received a scholarship in West Germany in 1955, and awards from UNESCO (1966), the Myer Foundation (1975), the Prix de Rome (1976), and from the Australia Council (1991) among others. In 1973 his "Sextet for Didgeridoo and Wind Instruments" was awarded best Australian piece of music, and this piece was performed in the German Pavilion at World Expo 2000 in Hanover on 9th October.

dot point The start of the Second World War led to the internment of German citizens in Australia who were thought to be a security risk. During the war more than 1600 prisoners of war (POWs) were brought from Europe to Australia. They were held in camps at Tatura and Murchison in Victoria, at Barmera in South Australia and at Marrinup in Western Australia. After the war some of the German POWs decided to stay in Australia.

In 1939 the numbers of Germans and Austrians arriving in Australia to escape from Nazi persecution peaked; they included Jews and political opponents of the regime in Germany. Years: Arrivals:
1933-36 284
1937 871
1938 1743
1939 5583
1940 137
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