Queensland’s German Connections

The Power Point Presentation of Queensland’s German Connections

I was privileged last week to be asked to deliver my Power Point Presentation ‘Queensland’s German Connections’ at Brisbane’s German Club as part of German Week. 

You may download the slides that make up the Power Point Presentation If you click on their German Week webpage at http://germanweek.com.au/event/german-history-day/

Then scroll down to the agenda and click on slides in the 1:30pm timeslot. You should then be able to download the full presentation.

Click on the arrow tip to download slides

Next weekend and expanding on this theme, I’ll start a new blog series entitled ‘Early German Immigrants to the Moreton Bay Settlement’.

Stories from Stradbroke Island – 1 – The Lost Beer Keg

A beer keg similar to that lost by the Buffaloes.

The kegs were being loaded at Cleveland on a wet and windy Friday night onto the Flirt to be consigned to the Buffaloes’ Stradbroke Lodge. One keg had been carried down the stairs of the Paxton Street Jetty and placed on the landing prior to being loaded. The other keg was being carried down the steps when the carrier slipped in the wet conditions and the keg he was carrying knocked the first keg, so that both kegs finished in the Bay. The Lodge advertised to let it be known that finders could have the contents as long as the Lodge got the kegs back, because there was a £7 deposit on each keg. One was returned very promptly but the other remained missing for some time until a party returning from Cleveland to Dunwich found the keg embedded on Cassim Island and which had been exposed by a very low tide. The contents were said to be in good condition.

Story by Ben Coghill, Dunwich

(Extract from Peel Island History – A personal Quest)

On the origins of the term Lazaret

During my studies into the former lazaret (leprosarium or leper colony) on Moreton Bay’s Peel Island, people often asked me where the term lazaretoriginated. The obvious connection is with the biblical parables about Lazarus: ‘The rich man and Lazarus’ (who was a leper) and ‘Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead’ (another Lazarus who was not a leper). Perhaps it was the conflation (often erroneous merging) of these two parables that led to the declaration of Lazarus as a saint.

Saint Lazarus Island

In the 12th century, leprosy appeared in Venice as a result of trade with the Levant (Middle East). Thus, a leper colony—hospital for people with leprosy—was established at the island, which was chosen for that purpose due to its relative distance from the principal islands forming the city of Venice. It received its name from St. Lazarus, the patron saint of lepers. The church of Saint Lazarus (San Lazzaro) was founded there in 1348. Leprosy declined by the mid-1500s and the island was abandoned by 1601. Over the following years, the island was leased to various religious groups but by the early 18th century only a few crumbling ruins remained.In 1717 the island was ceded by the Republic of Venice to an Armenian Catholic monk, who established a monastery with his followers. It has since been the headquarters of the Mekhitarists and, as such, one of the world’s prominent centers of Armenian culture and Armenian studies.

Saint Lazarus Island in 2013 (photo Anton Nossik)

During the nineteenth century, many prominent people visited the island: the English Romantic poet Lord Byron from November 1816 to February 1817; composers such as Offenbach, Rossini, Tchaikovsky, and Wagner; writers included George Sand and Marcel Proust; monarchs from Spain, Austria, Britain, and France. 

Today Saint Lazarus Island continues as an important centre for Armenian studies, and is a popular tourist destination.

An Innocent Abroad (London and New York)

Dolphin Lamps long Chelsea Embankment

At a recent meeting of our local Probus Club, I was intrigued to hear one of our members talk about her first tourist impressions of London. While her husband was studying at a business college, she was left to explore her fond Monopoly Board sites of London. Being left to her own devices, she found the process an empowering experience in a place she loved to explore, and it has endured with her ever since.

It brought to mind my first empowering experience of London, too, and It was just 50 years ago this November. It occurred suddenly as I was riding home in a London cab from Phyllis’ flat in Pimlico to my digs in Earl’s Court. We had been to a ball and it was sometime after midnight. I think it was our first night out together. As the cab weaved through London’s streets whose names were so familiar and yet so new to me, I felt a bit of a dandy in my dinner suit and leaning on my umbrella as if it were a cane (I didn’t wear a top hat!). Suddenly I felt that London belonged to me, or more accurately, I belonged to London.

Another ‘owning’ experience occurred to me in New York some forty years later when I left Phyllis and daughter Karen frantically shopping at Macey’s while I decided to take a leisurely walk back along 7th Avenue through the once thriving Garment District to our hotel near Times Square. Once again I suddenly felt this experience of belonging to the city. I think it resulted from the security of having loved-ones close by, but still having the freedom to explore such a world famous city on my own.

Reminder of the once flourishing Garment District in New York

Reminders of Peoples Past – 08 – Gustav Dux

Dux Creek is part of a canal development on Bribie Island

Johann Carl Gustav Dux, known as “Gus”, was born in West Prussia, on 1st June 1852.  Johann worked as a seaman, jumped ship in Cooktown, N.Q., and then worked his way down the coast until he arrived at German Station, now known as Nundah (a suburb of Brisbane).

Johann married at the age of 20 to Wilhemine Rose, 24 Years, from Grunhage, West Prussia.  When she died at the age of 28, he married Bertha Lange, age 17 years, from Weinsdorf, West Prussia.  Their first child, Friedrich Carl August Dux, known as “Augie”, was born on 2nd August 1878.

Dux Creek on Bribie Island was named after Gus, who eventually settled in what is now known as Dux Street, Caboolture. At the time, Dux Street ran right down to the Caboolture River, and it was from here that Gus did his fishing, crabbing and oystering, culling oysters from oyster banks at Pumistone Passage, north of the Caboolture River, and on Bribie Island. It was a long hard pull by rowboat from Caboolture down the Caboolture River to Bribie Island for Gus, so he would camp overnight when he worked his oyster banks.

William, another of Gus’s sons, carried on his father’s business, and was known locally as Billy, the crabman.

Gustav Dux outside his shack at Burpengary (Caboolture) around 1895

Swooping Birds

Swooping Birds – the sign says it all

It’s Spring (well, in Australia anyway): the bees are a’swarmin and the birds are a’swoopin – all in the cause of protecting their offspring. Attacks have been so relentlesss in my street that a neighbour contacted the local Councillor for help. The above sign was the Council’s answer to the birds. Personally I think it would make a great name for a house. There is something poetical about it – something in the vein of ‘Honeysuckle Cottage’.

The added bonus is that it might keep unwelcome hawkers outside your property, in much the same way as ‘Beware of the Dog’ warnings – and you don’t even need to keep one as a pet!

Closure and Closure


Sounds like a firm of lawyers doesn’t it, but no, for me it’s to tell you that:

1. I am closing the Moreton Bay History part of my webpage (which means that you won’t be able to log on using the  http://www.moretonbayhistory.com address after next week).

I opened my Moreton Bay History webpage in April 1997 and after nearly 20 years, I think I’ve said all I need to about the bay’s history. However I’ll try to keep the blog section open for the occasional blog. Hopefully, barring technical difficulties in the transfer, you may still log in to the blog using the following address:


2. My second closure is to finish writing ‘the novel’ which I began way back in 1970. After being constantly put on the back burner for the past 47 years due to the demands of my history writing, I’ve made it my new year resolution to finally seek closure on the ‘novel’ project. It won’t be a number one bestseller and will probably be seen by nobody but myself, but like learning to play the guitar, it will satisfy a lifelong ambition.

I’ll keep sending my new blogs to Facebook and Google+ so I hope we can still keep in touch.

Hopeful author, Peter Ludlow, beginning his novel on a £5 typewriter at Ridge Road, North London in 1970

London Bitter Sweet

Kensington Gardens
Kensington Gardens

Part of the idea I had when I came to London this visit was just to sit in Kensington Gardens and watch the grass grow while sunning myself in the gentle English light.

Oxford Street in the rain
Oxford Street in the rain

However the sunny weather Phyllis and I had experienced last week in the west of England sadly did not accompany us eastward to London. Yet in many ways reaching the capital felt like coming home: the overfamiliar landmarks, the crowded trains of the underground, the public Laundromat,…and the bleak cold weather that heralded in the first days of the English ‘summer’.

Tube station on London's Underground
Tube station on London’s Underground

Being back in London again after I first arrived here 48 years ago was a bitter- sweet experience: it was wonderful for us to tread the footpaths of the West End once again, but sad to realise that our bodies just couldn’t manage them as they once did so easily.

We visited our old Boots shop in Victoria Street where we had both worked but found it to be overrun by a mass of building work. As if to give a nod to the old days, some of the buildings’ facades were being preserved, but little else.

Facade in Victoria development
Facade in Victoria development

However Phyllis’ former flat at 33 Moreton Place, Pimlico and mine at 10 Nevern Square, Earls Court remain unchanged, still slumbering quietly as they have done in our dreams.