THE VILLAGE HISTORY:
When Jakob Hauser applied for his naturalisation papers in 1862, he stated that he had arrived in the colony in August 1857 aboard the Straits steamer "City of Hobart", which transferred passengers in Hobart Town from the "Sir W F Williams". It appears as though his name was transcribed to the manifest as 'Steigler'.
Jakob was a shoemaker by profession and doubtless his application was prompted by his desire to set up in business in the thriving township of Fryers Creek, near Castlemaine, where he was living with his wife and children. Little did he realise that by the time these children had become adults, the population of the town would have diminished from 30,000 to just a few hundred.
Jakob was 27 years old when he reached Melbourne, having been born on 16th March 1830 to a fruiterer, Johannes Hauser and his wife Klara Grieb. Jakob's earlier Hauser forebears had baked breads for the inhabitants of Nieder-Weisel for generations; his mother was from a family in nearby Griedel. Their first-born baby died; Jakob was the third of four later sons, and two daughters made up the family. Klara died when the youngest girl was only three, and Jakob eight; he was orphaned six years later. So far as is known, Jakob was the only one of the children to emigrate.
With Jakob on "City of Hobart" was Ann Steigler, shown as his wife, but actually the 23 year old unmarried daughter of Johann Georg Reuter II, Anna Elisabetha. The youngest Reuter sister Elisabetha had arrived a year earlier and was on the Castlemaine diggings with a group of Nieder-Weiselerns. She was betrothed to a German immigrant, Theodore Scherer, and the two sisters, when they met again later in 1857, decided that they would be married when the next circuit minister came to the field. Jakob and Anna Elisabetha exchanged marriage vows on the second last day of 1857 and they, with the Scherers, settled in the Pennyweight Flat area of Fryerstown, where the two husbands engaged in the exciting search for the elusive metal while their wives went about the more mundane task of bearing children. The Hausers lost their first child soon after its birth, but seven more arrived at fairly regular intervals.
Jakob invested some of his capital in deep-mining ventures but, like many others, was the victim of unscrupulous operators. With so many ever-hungry mouths to feed, Jakob went back to his profession and operated a boot-making business in the Fryers Creek shopping centre, continuing his prospecting when business was slack. As the miners moved away to more fruitful fields, Jakob lost more and more of his old friends until eventually he became the only person of German extraction left, relying on the mails to maintain contact with his friends.
Six years after the birth of his eigth child, Jakob unexpectedly became a father again; appropriately the child was given the name Clara in memory of a grandmother long gone. By now, the older children were moving away to Melbourne in search of social and employment opportunities; in about 1889 Jakob shifted the rest of his family there too. He died soon after this in his home in Collingwood at the age of 60, in 1891. Anna Elisabetha lived another 23 years to the age of 79.