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Johann KLOS

There were three small ships which sailed out of the port of Hamburg in northern Germany in the spring of 1854 with parties of immigrants from Nieder-Weisel aboard: "Undine", "Luisa" and "Victoria", all bound for Port Phillip.

Unlike the many groups which followed them, a high proportion of these migrants were in the age group from 35 to 50. One of the oldest of these was Johannes Klos, a carpenter from the town of Munzenberg, west of Nieder-Weisel. He was named as the father of a 'spurious' child born to Maria Katharina Riegelhuth on 25th July 1834 in Nieder-Weisel. The boy died 10 months later.

Johannes was the son of Johann Georg Klos and Maria Dorothea nee Jung, born on 28th May 1809. Maria Katharina, five months younger, was the youngest daughter of Konrad Riegelhuth I and Katharina nee Hildebrand. The couple married on 28th August 1836 and produced eight more children, of whom four died in infancy. The eldest of the surviving children, a son Philipp, was 18 and the youngest, Konrad, not quite 3 when Johannes decided to join several other family men from the village in what they hoped would prove to be a profitable venture to the gold-fields of Victoria. The eldest daughter, then 15, would be able to help her mother with the running of the household.

Johannes and his friends travelled to Hamburg on the new rail link and took passages aboard "Luise", the last of the three ships to sail. Their group comprised about 20 percent of the 131 passengers packed into the tiny vessel when it cleared port on 11th October 1854 to tackle nearly 19 weeks of open water sailing.

Johannes disembarked at the port of Melbourne on 23rd February 1855, and went looking for those who had preceded him on "Victoria" and "Undine". What success he had prospecting near Ballarat (and possibly Castlemaine) is not known. There are no records of his time in Victoria. On 9th January 1858, Philipp, son of 'the local carpenter Johannes Klos', was named as the father of an illegitimate child born to a woman in Hausen.

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