THE VILLAGE HISTORY:
Johann Peter Heinz could claim to be one of only three men to make the return journey from Nieder-Weisel to Melbourne twice, and the only one to take his wife on both occasions. (Peter Karl Hauser made one trip as a child and the second with his children after his wife died. Ambrosius Studt came out prospecting and then went back to marry his fiancee and bring her to Victoria. They later returned to the village).
Johann Peter was the eighth of nine children; two girls had died before he was born on 28th September 1829, but there were three older brothers who would benefit from whatever success came from their father's cartage business. It was a bleak future for a boy whose forefathers had operated a profitable wagon making and repairing business in the village for a century or more.
Johann Peter's mother, Katharina nee Hauser, who was also a descendant of a family which had been influential and quite affluent in earlier times, died in 1839 when Johann Peter was only ten. After his confirmation in 1843, he looked for part-time work on the large farming complexes but there was a great deal of competition. After serving his time in the army, he decided to go to England, where the industrial revolution had created an abundance of jobs. In 1851 he met up with Katharina Klippel from Nieder-Weisel when they were both working in Leeds; she was one of four children born to Anna Elisabetha Wilhelm before her eventual marriage to the farm hand Wenzel Klippel. Katharina and her younger sister, Anna Elisabetha, had left the village soon after the death of their mother and their father's remarriage. Their older brother, Johannes, married in Munster and took his bride to Argentina.
Johann Peter and Katharina married on 22nd April 1852, and a few weeks later Anna Elisabetha Klippel married Jakob Reuter of Nieder-Weisel, who had been sharing accommodation in Leeds with Johann Peter. Katharina gave birth to a son, Jakob, on 6th December 1852 in their home in York Street, Leeds. About a year later, Johann Peter and Katharina sailed for Melbourne; the record of their trip has not survived. Katharina was again pregnant - a second son, Johannes, was born in Melbourne on 25th May 1854 and baptised in the Lutheran Church there on 9th July. The Reuters had almost certainly come out with them - Anna Elisabetha had her son Christoph baptised in the same church just a month earlier. Johann Peter and Katharina had the details of the births and baptisms of the two boys put in the Family Book by the pastor in Nieder-Weisel on 26th July 1855 - presumably they had just returned from Victoria.
However, this was not to be a permanent homecoming. Leaving the boys with foster parents, they left for Melbourne again with 30 villagers aboard "Marco Polo", the fastest ship on the run, leaving Liverpool on 5th December 1855 and reaching their destination on 27th February 1856. Katharina was pregnant as usual but this time her baby did not wait to be born on dry land; he was delivered by Elisabetha Hildebrand as their ship was approaching the Australian land mass, six days distant.
Johann Peter and Katharina took their baby son Christoph to be baptised by Matthias Goethe in the Lutheran Church on 23rd March 1856, no doubt to the considerable surprise of the good pastor. Their sojourn in Victoria was somewhat longer this time around. Katharina produced yet another son, Konrad, on Christmas Eve in 1857; he was baptised by Pastor Burkhardt, who had temporarily replaced Pastor Goethe, on 10th January 1858.
By 1859, Johann Peter and Katharina were back in their home village - maybe for good this time. Katharina had her first child on German soil on 30th October 1859, and of course it was a boy, to whom they gave his father's name. The family was in their house on the eastern side of the Hauptstrasse in 1866. Three of their sons were farming in the village in 1909.
(A widowed sister-in-law of Johann Peter
arrived with her family in 1857 and settled in Smythesdale).