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The Robert Ritter Family History of South Australia

Updated April 4, 2001

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Friedrich Wilhelm RITTER (m) Johanne Friederike KOCH
(ch)(1) Johann Heinrich Wilhelm (b) 1805
(2) Johanne Dorothea Wilhelmine (b) 1808
(3) Christian Friedrich (b) 1810
(4) Johanne Juliane Friederike (b) 1812
* (5) Heinrich August Wilhelm (b) 1815
(6) Carl August Andreas (b) 1817
(7) Johanne Friederike Louise (b) 1820
(8) Ernst Friedrich August (b) 1828

* Heinrich August Wilhelm RITTER (b) 1815 Germany (m) Johanna Freidericke Wilhelmina PFENNIG (b) 1813 Germany
(ch)1. Johann Heinrich Christian Friedrich (b) 1837 Germany
(m) Anna Dorothea KUCHEL 1860 Handorf, South Australia
2. Henry Wilhelm Friedrich Adolph (b) 1841 Lautenthal, Germany
(m) Josephine Maulyn Amelia EDERT 1862 Callington, South Aust
3. Henry August Wilhelm (b) 1843 Lautenthal, Germany
(m) Lydia Anne CHAMPION 1866 Mount Barker, South Australia
4. Heinrich Christian August (b) 1845 Lautenthal, Germany
(m) Elizabeth Jane JAMES Richmond, Victoria, Australia.
5.* Johann Ernst Emil (b) 1849 Lautenthal, Germany
(m) Elizabeth Hanna Forwrd BISHOP 1871 Moonta, South Aust
6. Friedericke Elizabeth (b) 1854 Adelaide, South Australia
7. Christian Wilhelm (b) 1857 Handorf, South Australia
(d) 1857 Handorf, South Australia
Heinrich was a miner working in the mines in the Harz in Germany, and by the late 18th Century, the Goverment-owned mines found difficuties in economic conditions due to falling prices for metals. The mine shafts had reached a great depth, making the raising of the ore expensive, it was then by the middle of the 19th century expected for the mines to close within the next decade or two. It wasn't only the cost's of the mines they found becoming too expensive, but some of the special working conditions that had come about in the region over the centuries. Miners were not usually discharged, even if there was less work available, free medical attention, unemployment benifits and pensions for retired miners, there widows and orphans made it all too costly, even though the amount paid to each individual was very small. The population rose from 25,000 in 1825 to 30,000 in 1846, an increase of more than 20%.
The goverment then decided to grant financial aid not as a gift, but as an interest-free loan, and looking to find some place where the emigrants could earn good wages, so they could repay the loans quickly. South Australia with its recently discovered Burra Mine seemed to suit the bill exactly, specially since letters from emigrants that were already settled in South Australia sounded so good.
On August 8, 1848, public notices were distributed explaining any one intersted in emigrating to South Australia could then apply for financial aid. More than 700 people notified them of there willingness to leave. But those with large debts still owing, very large families, or those in poor physical health were not supported, cutting down the numbers in 1848 to 300.
Fourteen groups left the Harz between 1848 and 1854, the largest consisted of 246 emigrants, the smallest 8. Once the emigrant was notified of them being able to leave, about six weeks prior to there departure, they would have to start preparing for going, buying or making new clothing, selling any thing the family could not take with them, and getting all there paper work in order, passports etc. When they were to leave Harz, they gathered together and had to walk or drive a distance of roughly 20 kilometers to Vienenburg where they spent the night, next day was a day long train ride to either Bremerhaven or Hamburg. Here they met the British Ambassador and signed statements to the fact that they had received certain amounts of money being an interst free loan, and would repay it within three or four years of the arrival in Australia. They then boarded one of the sailing ships ready to sail in the next one or two days for there new land. Most voyages took between 100 to 120 days, everybody was employed within a week after

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