THE VILLAGE HISTORY:
Of the eight children born to the marriage of the carrier Johann Jakob Hauser and Susanna nee Maas, one was stillborn, two died in childhood, and four of the other five emigrated to Victoria. Each of the daughters who survived was called Anna Elisabetha; the elder of these two, by four years, was born on 17th February 1835, and was known as Elisabetha.
The record of Elisabetha's journey has still to be located; the younger sister was baptised in the English town of Hull in June 1855 so it could be that the two were sent away from Nieder-Weisel during the early 185Os. (Their brother Bernhard's baptism took place in the village in 1853). There was an "Elizabeth Hewser, 2O, English" aboard the "Champion of the Seas" when she left Liverpool on 3rd March 1856 who may have been Anna Elisabetha, but she had with her an 11 year old Catherine who cannot be accounted for. It is probable that Elisabetha emigrated on the ship "Queen of the East" from Liverpool in 1858, in the company of the Hildebrand family. An "Elizabeth Heuser", aged 25 years, appears on the passenger list of this ship.
The earliest record of Anna Elisabetha in her new homeland is that of her marriage, on 27th January 1859, to Konrad Riegelhuth. This was celebrated in the Lutheran Church in Ballarat by Pastor Johan Peter Niquet, in the presence of two Peter Hausers, her brother and her uncle. The groom was one of two brothers who had left Nieder-Weisel in search of a more secure future; their sister was also an immigrant to Victoria.
The young couple left Ballarat shortly after the marriage and spent several years on the diggings around Smythesdale. Elisabetha was kept busy rearing their young family - Elisabetha born 1859 and Bernhard 1861 at Smythesdale; and Maria Elisabetha 1863 and Conrad Alfred 1866 at the smaller settlement of Springdallah in the hills. They had the usual share of misfortune, losing Bernhard in March 1863.
Following the birth of Conrad Alfred, Konrad took his family to Sebastopol, on the outskirts of the goldmining centre of Ballarat, where they enjoyed the less primitive life style. They had five more children during the next decade: Catherine 1867, Conrad 187O, Margaret 1872, Heinrich Conrad 1874, and finally Otto Conrad in 1878. Misfortune again struck in 1873; as Anna Elisabetha was recovering from the birth of her daughter Margaretha, two of her children died on consecutive days - Catherine and Conrad, 6 and 3 years old, were buried in the Ballarat cemetery on 7th February. Anna Elisabetha was fortunate in that her younger sister, also Anna Elisabetha, now Mrs Ulrich, was living nearby and able to give support.
In 188O, Konrad, now naturalised, became the licensee of the Phoenix Hotel, in Barkly Street, in the heart of Ballarat. The hotel became very popular with the large German community, and Elisabetha renewed many acquaintanceships amongst their customers. Elisabetha's eldest daughter, also Elisabetha, married Emil Ehms at the hotel in 1883
With her childbearing days over, life became very pleasant. However, it was not to last - in August 1885, Konrad succumbed to a bout of intestinal pneumonia and Elisabetha was left to face 37 years of widowhood. Her eldest daughter was already married and Maria Elisabetha and Margaret soon found husbands. Elisabetha found a renewed purpose in life as the new generation began to arrive. After 1892, she gave up hotel management and devoted her time to her family. She continued to live next door at 15 Barkly Street.
At the close of her life she was living in Errard Street Ballarat with Maria Elisabetha and her family. In her 88th year, she died on
17th June 1922, and was buried at Ballarat Cemetery