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"Pribislav / Pribislaw" (Barque) - European Pioneers to South Australia - 1850

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The barque Pribislav / Pribislaw, 354 tons, Captain P.W. Niemann, from Hamburg 21st August 1849, via Port Phillip 18th February 1850, arrived at Port Adelaide, South Australia 1st March 1850.

The Pribislaw brought almost fifty Upper Lusatian Wends to Australia, most of whom settled in Victoria. These Wends included the Graff, Hempel, Hoehne, Kaiser, Pannach, Rosel, Schuster, Seiler, Stephan, Wuchatsch, Ziesche, Zimmer, Zschech and Zwar families.

Although the Pribislaw's Wends emigrated from Saxony with the intention of establishing a Wendish farming settlement in Australia, their plans were disrupted when Andreas Pench, whom they had engaged to be their Lutheran pastor, died on his way to Hamburg.

The 350 tonne barque Pribislaw, built in Ribnitz in 1847, left Hamburg on 23 August 1849 with 229 passengers. As a result of the deaths of two adults and ten children during September and October, the passengers forced Captain P. W. Niemann to make an unscheduled stop at Rio de Janeiro on 27 October 1849. While in Brazil, some of the passengers signed a petition about the quality of the food and sent it to the Hamburg Consul there, Arthur Guiguer.

The passengers complained that there was a shortage of food and that the food, except for the meat, was so rotten the passengers were in danger if the vessel was permitted to continue. They also claimed that the deaths were caused by the poor state of the food.

Most passengers disembarked in Melbourne.

Sources:

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The South Australian Register 2nd March 1850

The "Pribislav" from Port Phillip

  • This German ship, with 21 passengers from Melbourne arrived yesterday . The date of sailing was February 18th, but our newspaper files are only to the 15th inclusive. Friday March 1st.— The barque Pribislax, [sic] 315 tons , P. W. Niemann, Master, from Hamburg 21st August and Port Phillip 18th February. Passengers.— Dr. Berndt , and G. Lemke in the cabin ; and 19 in the steerage.

Some of the passengers:

Ohlmeyer, Johann Gabriel Martin 49

  • Wilhelmine 47
  • Ernst Martin Carl 24
  • Wilhelm Anton 20
  • Maria Caroline Louise 18

Stories

In March 1850, the Graff, Rosel, Wuchatsch and Zimmer families, along with several other non-Wendish families who arrived aboard the Pribislaw, settled at Westgarthtown (Thomastown) sixteen kilometres north of Melbourne. Today, several old timbers from the Pribislaw, retrieved in 2005 from the Shetland Islands, form part of a Pribislaw display at Ziebell's farmhouse, 100 Gardenia Road, Thomastown. For information about Ziebell's farmhouse, see www.westgarthtown.org.au

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