THE VILLAGE HISTORY:
Johann Georg Knipper and Anna Elisabetha Maas were married in Nieder-Weisel in 1812, just as the final disintegration of the power of the Johanniter-Orden was taking place. In the vacuum, which followed, Johann Georg could find work only as a daily-paid farmhand on the collective farms which were taking the place of the age-old family-managed farmlets.
The struggle which Anna Elisabetha had in providing a reasonable home environment for her family became much harder when her husband died suddenly, at the age of only 37, in 1829. Three of the four children who survived looked elsewhere for a better future. Christoph, the only son, married Margaretha Schimpf in August 1846; with their daughter Elisabetha they joined the first group of Nieder-Weiselerns to sail from Liverpool to Victoria. They reached Melbourne aboard "Glenmanna" on 14th February 1855 after 110 days at sea. The party included Katharina, the youngest of Christoph's sisters, with her husband Peter Hauser and their son Georg, and a cousin, Konrad Knipper.
The Knippers went to Ballarat where Margaretha gave birth to a daughter in October that year. Christoph continued prospecting around Ballarat for another three years and a son, Christoph, was born there in 1858. Soon after this, Christoph moved his family west to the diggings at Smythesdale, where Anna Elisabetha, his widowed sister Mrs Peter Heinz, had made a home for her children.
By this time, Christoph had established a transport business and, to allow him to purchase property, he applied for naturalisation; this was approved on 14th October 1862. Christoph was one of the householders who on 12th February 1861 had petitioned for the establishment of Smythesdale as a municipality in its own right; these actions suggest that Christoph had decided to make his home permanently in Smythesdale.
In 1862, Christoph served on a coroner's jury investigating the death of his nephew
George Hauser. The Hausers returned to Germany; perhaps this prompted Christoph to do the same. His fourth daughter, Maria, was born in their High Street home on 24th June 1863. (Christoph was still living there as an age pensioner in 1909). Christoph's eldest daughter Elisabetha married Jakob Adami in 1872 and the couple later migrated to North America. The Australian-born Knipper children became legatees under the will of
Christoph Heinz, a son of Christoph's sister Anna Elisabetha Heinz nee Knipper, all of whose family settled in the Ballarat area. It is obvious from this will that all the other Australian-born Knipper children had gone to live in USA.