Browsing around the archives of Picture Queensland, I came across this wonderful image dated 1880. I don’t know if it was a postcard designed to send home to those in Germany or if it was part of some official literature about what to expect in Queensland. It is tentatively labelled as being in Rosewood and has the printed caption “ Erste Wohnhutte eines Deutschen Ansiedlers” or “First hut of a German settler.”
The picture is clearly posed. All the family are out the front of the house in their best clothes. One horse has been led into the picture, the other looks like it has drifted off. See, just a slab hut but TWO horses. I also love the amateurishness of the building. The huts look as if they are holding each other up and were perhaps built by someone with little building experience. But it’s shelter and did I mention the two horses? It’s certainly enough to write home about.
I found another image of a German farming family taken in 1872. Here too the family are lined up in their best clothes. Here too, what I take to be the father is proudly displaying his horses, one for riding, the other for the wagon. The radical difference is the buildings – brick shed, tiled roof, semi-timbered walls. If it wasn’t for the towering gum trees behind the buildings, you could have been in any prosperous European farmyard. The farm is in Bethania, on the Logan River. Twenty-two families on the Susanne Godeffroy (which arrived in Brisbane on 17th January 1864 from Hamburg) founded a community based largely on their shared religious values of Old Lutheranism. They appear to have prospered.