Nov 01

A Visit to the Old Kakoschke Farm

A Visit to the Old Kakoschke Farm (or what’s left of it anyway)
Farm Ruins

2015 marked the centenary of the death of the original Aussie Kakoschke – Johann Friedrich Wilhelm, better known as Jack.

In September, my brother Lex and I had the opportunity to visit the ruins of the old Kakoschke family home, out on the plains in the Hundred of Lindley, near Morgan in South Australia. It’s such desolate countryside. The only things that thrive are crows, saltbush and shingleback lizards. It’s hard to imagine how they survived farming out there for almost 30 years. The Murray River is about 17 kilometres away as the crow flies, and I’ve been told that the children routinely had to walk to the river to fetch water. There’s almost nothing left of the original buildings – a three roomed house, a cellar, a wool shed and a cart shed. Imagine raising 18 children in a three roomed house – not three bed-roomed, three roomed!

I don’t know exactly when the place was actually abandoned – probably not long after Jack’s death, since all 2,699 acres owned by Jack were advertised for auction in October the same year. Wandering around the ruins, it was strange to think that my grandfather, Walter, grew up here. It’s not really all that long ago, and yet it seems temporally so very distant…

Speaking of my grandfather, it reminds me of a newspaper article I happened upon a while back. It’s from the Adelaide Chronicle, August 10th 1907:

MORGAN, August 1. – A little boy and girl, aged nine and seven years respectively, children of Mr. F. Kakoschke, farmer, of Lindley, were sent with cattle to a section about 12 miles from home. After attending to the cattle safely as instructed they started for home, the boy taking a shorter road through the bushes than his sister. He arrived home at dark, but as his sister failed to put in an appearance a search was made. On Monday a large number of residents were out scouring the country in company with Mounted Constable Teate. After searching for a considerable time it was ascertained that the little girl had been found at Mr. Escott’s place in Stuart, she having travelled over 12 miles in a different direction, and got there Sunday evening.

There's not much left

I can imagine that young Walter might have been in a bit of trouble as a result of this misadventure…

Family lore has it that three children are buried near the house, although there are no marked graves. Records only mention one infant child, Hannah, dying in 1884. But there may have been others which weren’t registered.

Family lore also has it that old Jack had something of a temper, and that at times his wife Emilie and the younger children would climb up onto the roof to escape his wrath! I don’t know whether that’s true or not. If it is, I’m sure it was no laughing matter at the time, but somehow all these years later, when I closed my eyes and imagined the scene – old Jack, standing with bottle in hand, shouting and cussing away in German, Emilie and the children perched up on the rickety roof, the ladder safely beside them, I found myself smiling.

Bottles, bottles everywhere, but ne'er a drop to drink!

Bottles, bottles everywhere, and ne’er a drop to drink!

They were tough people, and they were survivors. True Aussie battlers.

Jack passed away in the cellar at the farm on the 15th of February 1915, at the age of 63 – a pretty good innings for those times. The primary cause of his demise, as stated on his death certificate, was chronic alcoholism syncope. Sounds like the old home brew might’ve been pretty rugged stuff.

On the first anniversary of his death, the family placed this poignant In Memoriam public notice in the Adelaide Telegraph newspaper:

-In loving memory of my dear husband and father, Johann Friedrich Kakoschke, who died at Lindley on February 15, 1915.

The year has passed away quick,
Dear husband and father,
We miss you from thy place,
A shadow o’er our life is cast,
We miss the sunshine of thy face.
We miss thy kind and willing hand,
Thy fond and earnest care;
Our home is dark without you,
We miss you everywhere.

May his soul rest in peace.

—Inserted by his sorrowing wife and children.”

Emilie moved into the town of Morgan after Jack’s demise and spent the rest of her days there, passing away on the 1st of April 1925 after a few days illness. She was a well respected and much liked member of the community. As there was no hearse in the town, Emilie’s mortal remains were taken to Morgan cemetery in the back of a truck.

The Murray Pioneer, 10th of April 1925

The Murray Pioneer, 10th of April 1925

Jack & Emilie's grave - Morgan Cemetery

Jack & Emilie’s grave – Morgan Cemetery

May your souls rest in peace great grandpa Jack and great grandma Emilie.

Oct 23

European Vacation 2015

We had a very enjoyable trip to Europe this summer. We flew in to Milan on Swiss Airways and flew home from Berlin on Swiss as well – and that was the only flights the whole trip. All the rest of our travel was by train and cruise ship. (I’m not a fan of flying any more, so this suited me just fine.)
We started off by catching the train from Milan to Florence. Florence is a lovely city and we walked and walked until I had blisters, just soaking up the scenery. One highlight was a visit to the Accademia Gallery, home of Michelangelo’s famous statue of David. We also did the obligatory day trip to Pisa by train. It was a beautiful though quite hot day, but it was good to see the (in)famous Leaning Tower.

2015 Italy
2015 ItalyJul 18, 2015Photos: 41

Next we travelled by train to Tirano, a lovely town in the north of Italy and jumping off point for the famous Swiss scenic train, the Bernina Express. The scenery was magnificent. We overnighted at Tiefencastel in eastern Switzerland and next day travelled on another renowned scenic train – the Glacier Express. It was another beautiful journey, and a few hours later we alighted at the town of Brig in western Switzerland. Brig is a beautiful town – Malaika and I stayed there for a night in 2010 in the winter, so it was really nice to see it in summer.
From Brig we caught a regional train to Zermatt and then the Gornergratbahn up Mt Gornergrat where we stayed the night at the Kulmhotel 3100. The hotel is so named because of its elevation – 3,100 metres. The views were breathtaking – not just because of the altitude!
2015 Switzerland
2015 SwitzerlandJul 22, 2015Photos: 112

The next stop was Montreux, a lovely city on the eastern shore of Lake Geneva. One day whilst there we caught the ferry across the lake to France and had crêpes for lunch. Délicieuse!
Our journey continued by train to Zurich and then onwards to Sargans – another scenic town. From there we caught the bus to Liechtenstein where we’d planned to have afternoon tea, but couldn’t find a cafe! So we ended up having ice cream in Sargans instead and then caught the train back to Zurich, where we boarded the overnight sleeper train to Hamburg.
In Hamburg we stayed in the same hotel that the kids and I stayed in in 2012 when we did the Baltic cruise. In fact I think we even had the same room. It was quite close to the main train station, so quite convenient. In Hamburg we boarded our cruise ship, the MSC Splendida, for a two week cruise to the Arctic. The cruise was one of the most enjoyable I’ve had, with stops in Bergen, Tromsø, Longyearbyen, Honningsvåg & Norkapp, Geiranger, Flåm.
Bergen was lovely and we indulged in some fresh raspberries and cream. Tromsø is another town that Malaika and I visited in 2010, so again it was nice to see it in summer as opposed to winter (even though in summer it was 12 degrees and raining!). Likewise, Longyearbyen is where Malaika and I ventured in 2010 hoping to see the Aurora Borealis. In winter it was a surreal place – no daylight at all, just dark and cold and windy. In summer it was beautiful and we especially enjoyed the Husky Safari. Lunch at the SvalBar was so enjoyable that we ended up going back there for dinner. Best burgers north of the equator!
2015 MSC Splendida
2015 MSC SplendidaJul 29, 2015Photos: 52
2015 Norway
2015 NorwayJul 31, 2015Photos: 176

The remaining three stops in Norway were all incredibly beautiful. Standing atop the huge cliffs at Norkapp with a bitterly cold wind blowing in your face and watching the sun set late in the evening makes one quite introspective.
In Flåm we caught the scenic train up to Myrdal and then cycled the 20 odd kilometres back down. Words alone can’t possibly describe the beauty of the scenery. Thankfully, hopefully, the photos will.
After arriving back in Hamburg, we caught the train to Berlin where we walked many, many kilometres enjoying the sights. I don’t know what it is about Berlin, but I love visiting the city.
2015 Germany
2015 GermanyJul 27, 2015Photos: 26

Jul 13

Pamela St Claire 1940-2015

Rest in peace my dear sister.

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