THE VILLAGE HISTORY:
When Johann Georg Hildebrand sailed from Liverpool in 1857 he took with him only Philipp, the eldest of his four sons. As the records in Nieder-Weisel show that two younger sons, Konrad and Peter, were with him when he left the village on 19th February, it seems that the younger boys remained in England with relatives - Johann Georg had a brother and two sisters living in Hull at that time.
Peter followed eighten months later, leaving Liverpool on 20th November 1858 aboard "Great Britain", the vessel that took more migrants to Victoria than any other ship on the run. On the manifest, Peter showed as being 11 years of age, which would have permitted him to travel for half fare, but he was really 14 (born 6th November 1844) when the ship sailed.
Peter reached Melbourne on 27th January 1859, the vessel having made the journey in only 69 days. He joined his father, who was prospecting in the Smythesdale region, but later went to Ballarat where he worked as a blacksmith. On 5th March 1867, Peter married Mary Ardagh, the 20 year old daughter of shoemaker John Ardagh and Margaret Lanergan from Tipperary. They were married in St Alipius Roman Catholic Church - where Peter's brother Konrad would also marry.
Mary gave birth to their first child, Margaret, in 1868 and, soon after this the couple moved to the Inglewood area, west of Bendigo, where their first son, James, was born in 1870. Peter later took his family further west to the Wedderburn goldfields. Three more children were born in the small village of Berlin: Mary Jane in 1874; Louisa in 1876; and Peter in 1878. Tragically, in giving birth to this second son in March, Mary lost her own life at the age of 32.
Peter's brothers had by this time moved north but Mary's relatives were living in Ballarat and would have been able to help Peter with the baby and his four other young children. Sadly, it was not long before these motherless children lost their father as well. Working at Kilmore, Peter was badly hurt in an accident on 19th October 1882. He was admitted to the Kilmore Hospital but died of massive head and chest injuries the next day. Peter Hildebrand was buried in the Kilmore Cemetery on 20th October 1882, two weeks before his 38th birthday.