The shepherd Johann Christoff Pabst with his wife (a free Irish girl, Ellen Scott) and two daughters arrived at Ten Mile Creek, 66 kilometres north-east of Albury, NSW. He had arrived in Australia on 15th November 1825, as one of four shepherds hired in Germany by the Australian Agricultural Co., founded by John Macarthur. As well as the four shepherds the Company brought about 700 Saxony sheep to Australia. In 1840 Pabst took over the licence for the Woolpack Inn, a stagecoach-stop on the southern bank of the Ten Mile Creek. The area became known as “The Germans” and in 1858 the settlement was officially named Germanton. In 1915 during World War One Germanton was renamed Holbrook after a British submarine captain who had been awarded the Victoria Cross and the French Legion of Honour.


Friedrich Johann Heinrich Bracker from Mecklenburg, arrived from Hamburg on 17th January in the Diadem. He brought with him about 300 stud sheep which he had chosen from Prince Esterhazy’s Silesian flock for the Aberdeen Company. Bracker had planned to return to Germany, but he stayed in the colony and made a big contribution to the development of wool-growing in Australia. In 1843 the Aberdeen Company made him superintendent of a sheep run near Warwick on the Darling Downs which he named Rosenthal (the place name exists today). The explorer Ludwig Leichhardt, who visited him in March 1844 (and again on later occasions), noticed that Bracker was well-known in the colony as ‘Fred the German’ and was popular with all the squatters, many of whom asked him for advice on sheep. Bracker had good relations with the Aborigines.

The Prince George arrived in Adelaide on 20th November with the first large group of German settlers in South Australia (including those on the Bengalee). They were 178 conservative, religious German migrants mainly from Klemzig in Brandenburg, who left home mainly because of their rejection of Prussian state enforcement of a new prayer book for church services. Led by Pastor Augustus Kavel, they established the village Klemzig on the river six kilometres from Adelaide. Today Klemzig is a suburb in the north-east of Adelaide. The colony of South Australia, which promoted itself as a place only for free settlers and providing freedom of religion, was keen to attract these Germans, who had the reputation of being pious, hard-working and reliable farmers. On 18th November the Bengalee had arrived at Port Adelaide with 21 members of Pastor Kavel’s group who could not be fitted on the Prince George.


In March a group of German and Wendish farmer settlers from Mecklenburg, Sachsen and Schlesien established a close-knit farming community just to the north of the city of Melbourne on land acquired on their behalf by the prominent Melbourne merchant William Westgarth. Many of them had arrived on the Pribislaw from Hamburg on the 2nd of February. Westgarth actively promoted German immigration to Victoria. Over time the village was known by various names: in 1850 Keelbundora (after the parish in which it was located); ~1851 Dry Creek; ~1855 New Mecklenburg; ~1860 Westgarthtown; ~1900 up to the present Thomastown. Many of the first settlers were Wendish/Sorbian, reflected in family names such as Wuchatsch, Ziebell, Zwar and Kupsch. The Westgarthtown church is the oldest continuously operating Lutheran church in Australia, opened on 17th November 1856. Today the farm buildings and church lie within the suburb of Thomastown and are an example of an old German-style village, with one home restored to its original condition as a heritage site.


The Queensland government appointed Johann Christian Heußler, a German businessman in Brisbane, as immigration agent for continental Europe. Queensland had become a separate colony two years earlier and was keen to attract German settlers who would open up new areas. In order to compete with other Australian colonies such as SA and Victoria that were already attractive to German settlers, Queensland offered subsidised transport  from Germany to the colony. Heußler went to Germany and his system was so successful that by 1879 over 17,000 German-speakers had settled in Queensland. Most of them were farmers and agricultural labourers from the poor regions of Prussia, Pomerania, Silesia and Württemberg, and the majority moved to rural areas of the colony. Large numbers settled in the Rosewood, Fassifern, Lockyer and Darling Downs regions, and later in Mackay, Bundaberg and Maryborough. The Germans settled in some districts whose terrain and vegetation had been rejected by British settlers as being too difficult.


German farmers from Victoria’s Western District and from South Australia started colonising Victoria’s southern Wimmera. Many villages developed, some with German names (Kirchheim, Grünwald, Kornheim), some with Aboriginal names. The Cyclopedia of Victoria, Volume III, An Historical and Commercial Review, published in 1905, says about Murtoa on page 229:

(In 1882) the district was then held almost entirely by Germans, whose superior frugality and simpler ways of life enabled them in many cases to buy out their British and Australian born neighbours.

The first district leases were granted in 1836-37 and the first resident was German-born Johann Pabst who had arrived in Australia in 1825 as a sheep expert working for the Australian Agricultural Company. He settled here with his family in 1838. In 1840 he became the licensee of a grog shop known as the Woolpack Inn on the southern bank of Ten Mile Creek. Other inns then began to open on the Sydney-Melbourne Rd.

The first European settler, John Purtell, started calling the area Ten Mile Creek around 1838, when he had settled on the creek, 10 miles from Father Therry’s cattle yards The first recorded sheep grazier was German born Johann Pabst, a sheep expert for the Australian Agricultural Company. He worked for two years in charge of the sheep owned by Thomas Mate. (Lynch, 1988)