THE VILLAGE HISTORY:
Born on 9th July 1812, Johann Konrad was the younger of the two brothers who were the only children to survive of the eight born to Konrad Bill and Anna Margaretha nee Fett. Only two years apart in age, they developed similar interests that took their lives along almost identical paths.
Each brother was by occupation a linen-weaver. In 1831 the older brother, Konrad, married Katharina Krausgrill and, on 21st December 1834, Johann Konrad and Elisabetha Haub, daughter of the farm hand Konrad Haub VI, exchanged vows before the same altar. The latter pair had five children in the next fourteen years: Anna Elisabetha, in 1835; Konrad Philipp in 1839; Katharina Elisabetha 1842; Christina 1846-1851; Jakob in 1848.
The parents became greatly concerned as their two girls entered their 'teens in a village which was becoming increasingly lawless. Johann Konrad then decided to take them to Australia as many others, including his brother, were doing. Leaving Jakob with his mother, he left Nieder-Weisel with a group of more than thirty villagers in September 1856 and, with his older son and his daughters, sailed from Liverpool on 5th November on board the happily named vessel "Sunshine". To keep the family as a unit, Anna Elisabetha posed as his wife; the ages of the others were dropped below 12. Half of the villagers in the group were minors and the voyage for them was an exciting and enjoyable one.
Reaching Melbourne on 29th January 1857 (just two years after his brother had arrived there, with his two daughters), Johann Konrad and his son went mining in Ballarat whilst the girls worked as domestics, and managed their home.
Johann Konrad's objectives were reached in a very short time: Anna Elisabetha was married in 1858 and Katharina Elisabetha in 1861, both to German migrants. It was not very long after this second event that Johann Konrad returned to the village - no record of his return voyage has been found. His brother left Melbourne in February 1861 after seeing both his daughters settled. Johann Konrad and Elisabetha would see Anna Elisabetha's children in 1865 when she and her husband Friederich Hahn, who was from a nearby village, returned to Germany.