Change in the Cultural Identity of German Settlers of the Logan and Maroochy Rivers, Queensland, 1860-1914

Jasmine Sommer (2009). Change in the Cultural Identity of German Settlers of the Logan and Maroochy Rivers, Queensland, 1860-1914 MPhil Thesis, School of History, Philosophy, Religion & Classics, The University of Queensland.

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Author Jasmine Sommer
Thesis Title Change in the Cultural Identity of German Settlers of the Logan and Maroochy Rivers, Queensland, 1860-1914
School, Centre or Institute School of History, Philosophy, Religion & Classics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2009-08
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Dr. Geoff Ginn
Professor Clive Moore
Total pages 275
Total black and white pages 275
Subjects 21 History and Archaeology
Abstract/Summary This thesis concentrates on the 1860s migration and settlement experience of the first German settlers of Gramzow on Queensland’s Logan River. It also describes the internal migration of some among them to the North Arm of the Maroochy River in the early 1880s. The latter journey was undertaken in the company of other Germans from the Logan River district and formed part of a pattern of cluster and chain migration to the North Coast. The first chapter in this thesis discusses the early German settlers’ decision to migrate from their homelands, and their economic and societal reasons for migration. The role played by Johann Christian Heussler in the Germans’ choice of Queensland as a destination, and his contributions to the economic development of Queensland through his position as Emigration Agent to the German States, are reviewed. This thesis also attempts to bring balance to the reputation of Godeffroy and Son, the Hamburg shipping line engaged by Heussler, which brought most of the German settlers to Queensland in the 1860s. The company’s visible commercial strengths such as their size and experience in the Pacific, and their private, internal weaknesses such as failure to adopt new technologies, are examined. Conditions on the Godeffroy vessels are compared with the conditions on ships sailing from Hamburg to America. This approach avoids the usual comparison of German with British sailing ships coming into Moreton Bay. Britain’s exemplary standards for passenger health were beyond the reach of emigrant fleets who operated under Hamburg’s older regulations. The research concludes that, in the early 1860s, conditions on the Godeffroy ships for Queensland were superior to Hamburg ships for New York. Furthermore, this thesis describes the 1868 German settlement of Gramzow on the Logan River and compares it to Bethania. The significance of Queensland’s 1868 lands legislation to the German settlers is explored. It is suggested that the 1868 Crown Lands Alienation Act is connected to the U.S. Homestead Act, 1862, and a comparison is drawn between the Australian, American and Canadian lands settlement legislation. This comparison enables the further suggestion that homestead selectors of the Logan were part of an international group of homesteaders whose occupational identity was tied to opening the land to agricultural smallholding at little cost through many similar or identical legislative rules that predominantly impacted their economic standing positively. How land orders enabled Logan settlers to increase their land holdings is discussed, as are the negative aspects of the lands legislation such as the upper 160 acre limit on land holding. The migration of early German settlers of the Logan district north to Maroochy occurred under Queensland’s 1876 lands legislation. This thesis examines the settlement of Germans on the Canando Run along the North Arm of the Maroochy River in the early 1880s, and describes their settlement conditions. Their motives for moving are examined, how the discovery of gold at Gympie affected them is explored, and the establishment of three German businesses at Maroochy is described. A chart comparing the settlers’ land holdings on the Logan with those at Maroochy illustrates that by moving north, some settlers were able to increase their land holdings threefold. The disappearance of Deutschtum (‘German culture’) after the turn of the century is examined in the final chapter. This thesis asks whether it is appropriate to continue to use the term ‘assimilation’ when speaking of Queensland’s German settler community before and during the First World War. The term appears to draw a veil over the political and economic subjugation of the community during this period. The thesis proposes that it was easier to survive the difficulties of war in rural rather than in urban communities. Although the historiography of the German settlers of Queensland supports an academic conversation on topics such as German emigration, land acquisition and settlement, this thesis focuses on issues outside the boundaries of the current academic thrust. These issues include the settlement of Gramzow in 1868, the homestead provisions in the 1868 Crown Lands Alienation Act and their origins in lands legislation in America, the services provided through Johann Christian Heussler by the German emigrant shipping line ‘Godeffroy and Son,’ the settlement of the North Arm of the Maroochy River by Logan Germans in the early 1880s, and a rejection of the term ‘assimilation’ to describe the eradication of German culture in Queensland after 1914. The leitmotif of this thesis is cultural identity and it explores change in German settlers through various aspects of their identity such as their psychological identity, diasporic experiences, language, and legal and political identity after taking citizenship.
Keyword German settlers of Queensland, Logan River, Maroochy, German migration to Queensland, Crown Lands Acts, naturalization, citizenship, cultural identity, assimilation.
Additional Notes none

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Created: Mon, 01 Feb 2010, 07:48:48 EST by Mrs Jasmine Sommer on behalf of Library - Information Access Service