The story of the arrival of the Kakoschke family in Australia
From Prussia to Australia
The story of the Kakoschke family in Australia begins on the 18th of June 1878. In the evening of that day, the 602 ton Prussian barque Eduard, under the command of Captain Halenbeck, arrived off Port Adelaide after a fairly gruelling four month journey from Europe. The vessel was towed into Port Adelaide harbour the following morning. It had departed Hamburg on 25th of February, with 204 souls on board. One of those souls was Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Kakoschke.
Unfortunately though, the arrival of the Eduard was not without incident. A newspaper columnist of the time had this to say a few days after their arrival:
“We have no wish to exaggerate blunders, which may sometimes arise even when there has been no intentional neglect. It must, however, be apparent to any one that such an extraordinary muddle as was made the other day in connection with the German immigrants by the Eduard would have been impossible if the department here were in thorough working order. Next to bringing the right sort of patrons into the colony it is most important that everything should be avoided which is likely to make their first experiences of the country unpleasant and to create a feeling of disappointment and disgust.”
So what went wrong? Well, apparently the disembarkation was a royal balls-up! The South Australian Register newspaper ran the following story on Thursday the 20th of June 1878:
“THE GERMAN IMMIGRANTS.— A large number of the German immigrants by the Edward were placed in a very awkward position on Wednesday evening, which shows either that proper arrangements were not made for their reception or — according to their own statements — that some of the authorities on board acted without due consideration or sufficient warrant. For about 70 foreigners, a large number of whom were women and children, to be landed at the Adelaide Railway Station without knowing where to go or having the means to provide themselves with shelter for the night is a fact which speaks for itself, and needs little comment to indicate that enquiry should be made to ascertain with whom should the fault lay.
So far as we can ascertain the circumstances they appear to have been these. Mr. Alfred Krichauff, the German Immigration Agent, with Mr. T. W. Duffield, of the Crown Lands Department, who superintends immigration matters at the Port, in company with Mr. B. Amsberg, proceeded to Port Adelaide on Wednesday morning and boarded the ship, which had just come into harbour. The usual preliminaries having been disposed of, Mr. Duffield left with one family, who were to go to Morcom’s Temperance Hotel, and a few single women, who were to take up their quarters at the Servants’ Home. Some of the immigrants had asked for passes to go to Adelaide, so Mr. Duffield wrote to Dr. Gething desiring him to give Mr. Krichauff the necessary orders. Mr. Krichauff then went on shore, procured them from Dr. Gething, and gave them to the immigrants. He returned to town by the half-past 2 o’clock train, at which time some of the immigrants had left the vessel. After he had gone some of the immigrants state that the chief mate told 29 single men to leave the ship and go to town, where they would find board and lodging provided for them by the Government at the Home, and he afterwards at about 4 o’clock directed seven or eight families, numbering in all about 50, to do the same. This statement has, however, been denied by that officer, who says that the immigrants after receiving their passes began packing their luggage, and without consulting any of the officers on board left the vessel late in the afternoon.
After landing they came to Adelaide by the train which arrived at 6 o’clock, and were then astonished to find no one there to receive them or to tell them where to go. Mr. Krichauff happening to hear of this went to the Station and found that some of the immigrants had brought all their luggage, and others only portion of it, and having no money to pay hotel expenses they were remaining there, not knowing what to do. He then went to Mr. Morcom’s and asked him to accommodate the immigrants, but he having received no order to that effect refused to do so. Mr. Krichauff then went to Mr. Duffield to consult him on the subject. During his absence Mr. Inspector Peterswald, who had been informed of the unhappy plight of the new arrivals, came to the Station, and was about, on his own responsibility, to direct Mr. Morcom to receive the immigrants, when Mr. Krichauff arrived with an order from Mr. Duffield. Mr. Peterswald undertook, if sufficient accommodation could not be found at the Temperance Hotel after providing for the women and children, that he would see that the men had shelter for the night at the Police Station.
Mr. Morcom, however, declined to receive the immigrants, as he had not had notice of them, and so some of them were allowed to remain at the Police Station for the night, while others found accommodation elsewhere. On enquiry at Dr. Gething’s we find that that gentleman when he granted the passes believed that the party would be under Mr. Krichauff’s charge, and that proper accommodation had been provided for them in Adelaide. It is arranged, we believe, that the unfortunate immigrants shall return to the ship this morning.”
What a fine welcome after four months at sea! It’s not entirely clear who was responsible for the mess, but the matter was even raised in State Parliament soon after, where-: “The COMMISSIONER of CROWN LANDS (Hon. T. Playford), in reply to Mr. Henning, said he had made enquiries as to the inconvenience to which some of the German immigrants were put last week, and it was very difficult to say whether the mate or the gentleman who acted as the agent of the Immigration Society here was to blame. It was a blunder which he was quite sure would not be repeated.”
It’s believed Johann was fortunate enough to have stayed that first night in a hotel in Hindley Street, unlike some of the other poor blighters who got to spend their first night in Australia in a police station.
But before we continue the Australian part of the story, let’s talk a little about where Johann came from.
Footnote: Morcom’s Temperance Hotel was at 227 Hindley Street. It was demolished in 1894.