THE VILLAGE HISTORY:
Johannes was the eldest of the four children born to Johann Konrad Heinz, a butcher in Nieder-Weisel, and Elisabetha nee Maas. By the time of his birth on 29th August 1833 it was clear that the changed social conditions would limit the opportunities open to his generation. His father, whilst ensuring that Johannes acquired the skills of his trade, planned to re-establish the family in the New world and, to this end, he joined in a group from the village which left for the goldfields of Ballarat in 1854. He arranged for his two daughters, Anna Juliana and Katherina, to follow several months later.
Johannes was required for military service at about this time and he also arranged to emigrate after this. He and his fiancee, Katharina Wilhelm, were married on 26th April 1857 in the parish church that had served the villagers for over 700 years. The bride was the eldest daughter of farmhand Johann Wilhelm and Anna Margaretha nee Jost.
The bridal couple left the village immediately after the marriage in company with a large group of their friends. If they anticipated a pleasant voyage on their honeymoon it must have been a disappointment. Their ship, "Sir W F Williams" encountered hot and then boisterous weather as she covered the 20,000 km between Liverpool and Tasmania. This culminated in the loss overboard of one of her crew members. From Hobart Town, the shaken passengers went by the Straits steamer, "City of Hobart" to Melbourne. They disembarked there on the last day of August.
Johannes and Katharina headed for Castlemaine, where his sister Anna Juliana was about to be married, arriving in time for Johannes to be able to give the bride away (her father having died suddenly the previous year). Johannes spent some time prospecting around the Victoria Reef and Happy Valley fields; later, he established a butchery in Long Gully. Katharina presented Johannes with Catherine, his first daughter, soon after their arrival at Bendigo, but the little girl did not survive. A son, Conrad, born early in 1859, lived for only four months. The next girl, Anna Margaretha, thrived, as did four more children born during the next 10 years: Eva, Conrad, Frederika and, in 1870, a second Catherine. However, the parents were very disappointed when the second son also died in childhood.
Konrad, younger brother of Johannes, arrived in Victoria in 1861 and also became a butcher; it may be that he was trained by Johannes. Eventually he operated a successful business at Iron Bark.
Late in 1871 Johannes became afflicted by ulcerations of the mouth. These were cancerous and resisted all efforts to cure them. Johannes died on 12th May 1872 in their home in Happy Valley. He was buried with his two baby sons in the cemetery at White Hills the following day. Katharina faced 32 years of widowhood before joining him in 1904.