Hudson at Murtoa -- Past Links Revealed

Schulz Migration

This article by Pastor Ray Schulz, great grand son of Johann Joachim SCHULZ, discusses the reasons why our Schulz ancestors may have left Germany and came to Australia.

"Why did the Schulz family migrate from Germany to Australia in 1854? This chapter will answer that question in part only. Answers can I believe be found. That would require more research, especially from records (Church, Land Titles, etc.) which may still be in Germany and from close study of German history, especially of the immediate locality in Hannover from which the Schulz family migrated. Should diaries or correspondence, or any memoirs, earlier generations may have written be found, these would help immensely. Certain branches of the Schulz family were good diary writers and I believe it likely that the early Schulz settlers wrote them too. Here I hope to stimulate enquiry and perhaps set an agenda for careful patient investigation. A close study of how the Schulz's fitted into society in Germany would be illuminating. Were they landowners? If so, how much land did they own and how many people did they employ? Does the name 'Schulz', meaning something like 'Town Clerk', in any way reflect their position in society prior to migration?

I have implied that the Schulz family came from Germany which is not strictly true. Only in 1871 did the people of Germany race unite. until then it was made up of more or less independent States. Thirty nine of these States or Principalities formed a loose German Confederation. According to the marriage records of J.J. SCHULZ's sons, they were born around Hacklingen, (near Wieren in West Germany) in what was then the State of Hannover.

Did they migrate for religious freedom, as did many of the first Lutherans who went to South Australia? I believe not, as those first settlers came from Prussia where in 1830 Frederick William III introduced a new worship form combining the Reformed and Lutheran practices. I am not aware that this applied in Hannover, also long before 1854, the law in Prussia was repealed.

The decision to leave one's home of many generations and take a dangerous trip to a distant and largely unknown land was immense. The Schulz family and those who travelled with them must have prayed fervently about that decision. It is known that the Bunge and Holzgrefe families, related to the Schulz's by marriage, came out together. Who paid the fares and how was the money raised? Apparently, to encourage immigration, fares at the time were very reasonable.

I believe the most likely cause for migration was to improve the family economic prospects and possibly also for security reasons. The population of Europe had remained stable from about the 14th to the 18th centuries. However from about 1750 the population grew. In 1800 the population of Europe was about 187 million, by 1850 it had risen to 250 million. This put increased pressure on land resources.

There was an acute shortage of land for new farmers, mostly the sons of old farmers. Until this population increase, very few lived in towns, now people were forced off the land into towns. J.J. SCHULZ may not have had enough land (assuming he was a farmer) for his sons. In addition Europe suffered an extremely bad economic period in the 1840's. In 1846, when the Schulz children were small or being born, a severe famine gripped Europe when the potato and grain crops failed. From 1844-47 food increased 50% in price. With severe famine went disease and unemployment. The Industrial Revolution was also getting under way. All this led to widespread civil disturbance and in 1848-49 revolution broke out in many parts of Europe. Many, in fact 2.5 million Germans left their country from 1830-70. The shortage of land led to the growth of towns and their increased importance. Also in the 1840's, railways spread throughout Germany. Places once days or weeks apart were now only hours apart. Goods and produce could be shifted with ease around the country. No longer need they think in terms of their own locality only. Perhaps this got old Schulz thinking beyond, further afield.

To whet the appetite of people seeking a more secure future, the shipping agents spread their advertisements, painting a rosy picture of the 'paradise' on the other side of the world. Almost certainly these advertisements appeared where the Schulzs lived. More reliable information about these 'paradises' had come back to Germany from the earlier settlers. After three or four years in Australia they had been able to own such things as a cow (perhaps 2 or 3) and a plough, items which would have taken generations to acquire in Germany. This was communicated back home in letters, perhaps the Schulzs knew earlier settlers in Australia who encouraged them to migrate. We know that J.J SCHULZ went to live near Callington in South Australia for about 6 years after his arrival. We also know that in about 1848 when copper was discovered near Callington, miners from the Harz region of Hannover came to that area. Did the Schulzs reunite with old mining friends? If the Schulzs were miners, you would expect old Schulz to have gone gold mining. Gold was discovered in Ballarat in 1851 and set in motion a gold rush which Schulz must have heard about. However it was 1860 before Schulz moved to Victoria and then not to the goldfields.

The gold rush may have been an important factor in creating the circumstances for the Schulz migration. In Australia so many left the land, closed down their business, left their employers and went a 'waltzing matilda' to the gold fields, a need for settlers who would farm the land and produce food for the colony became extremely urgent. Hence attractive terms were offered to encourage people to settle and farm.

Was the reason for migration to escape active military service? Certainly the influence of Bismarck grew and Prussia took over other German States (including Hannover in 1862) the fear of being fed into the war machine grew. The Schulz boys would have been rather young for their father to be seriously concerned to protect them from military service in 1854.

Unless he was a very shrewd political judge in the early 1850's, he could hardly have seen the influence Bismarck was to have on Germany, uniting it in 1871 into the Second Empire. Also we would need to know for certain that old Schulz migrated out of fear of war and compulsory military service.

In 1854 europe engaged in another major war, the Crimean War, when Britain and France were pitched against Russia. Germany has often been the meat in the sandwich between these forces. Did Schulz migrate for political reasons? Was he a liberal of his day, not in any sense a liberal by todays definition but by the understanding of his time? In the 19th century the liberals had gained considerable ground, especially after the French Revolution and Napoleonic years (1790-1814). The liberals wanted an elected parliament with a constitution providing equal rights before the law to all people regardless of their position in society. Much greater freedoms of religion and of the press were sought. The liberals were generally the propertied people or from the more educated urban middle class. The revolutions in 1848-49 in many parts of Europe were largely a clash between the liberal views just described and the old conservative forces which claimed the right of kings and princes to rule without a constitution, without a parliament or consultation with the people. The conservative position gained ascendency in 1848-49. People with a liberal outlook, who had been in the losing side in the uprisings found themselves in a most uncomfortable position. Many migrated to other countries, but more so in 1848-49 than in 1854 when the Schulzs came. Many migrated because of no voting rights, constitutional rights, parliamentary representation. However did Schulz seek voting rights when he arrived? How long before he became a citizen? What evidence is there if any that he held liberal views?

Personal or local reasons may have prompted the migration. Did Schulz suffer from wanderlust? Did his doctor recommend he seek a more healthy climate for himself or one of his family? Did he migrate because his farm (if he had one) became a swamp, was worked out, was taken over by urban development, or similar reason? Were his motives less noble, perhaps he owed money or he had a squabble or his business failed? His conduct here does not hint at any of these suggestions.

If we are able to answer the question why the Schulzs migrated, then why to Australia? At that time people had a choice of migrating to America, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, etc, so why did they choose Australia?

Schulz folklore suggested that J.J. SCHULZ was a man of prayer, but he also depended on 'direction' from his wife in the more practical aspects of life. We know Schulz was a Lutheran and his faith was genuine, however at that time, and still today, Lutherans came in several flavours. Some extremely concerned with purity of Lutheran doctrine, with truth in all its purity.

Other Lutherans were less concerned with purity of doctrine but more so with a commitment of the will, a living faith and religious experience. The later were strongly influenced with Pietism and Schulz probably belonged to this group. An explanation of Pietism may explain something of the religious life of the Schulzs since 1854. Pietism grew up in Germany about 200 years before Schulz migrated. It started in the Lutheran Church but spread much further. Largely it was a reaction to the rationalistic approach of orthology which defined the Christian faith in a more refined detail, all very logical and well argued. However faith became a matter of the head, of correct belief, often with little feeling, rather than the heart. Pietism had many dimensions, personal prayer was central. Concern for mission and the unsaved was strong. Personal morality was given great emphasis. It was more individualistic and stressed personal decision and conversion. confirmation became more important in an individual's life than baptism.

The concern for personal feeling in religion often led to a downgrading of correct teaching. Pietists could cross denominational boundaries more easily. Reformed and Lutheran teachings could be put together. Pietists tended to see the church as more true when engaged in small home groups with bible study and prayer than in Sunday worship. The sacrament of the alter often fell into neglect among Pietists. They liked singing hymns with lively choruses rather than 'good sound Lutheran hymns'. Pietists often found liturgical structures too restrictive for personal expression and they tended to be subjective rather than objective in their faith.

Pietist strengths at times became weaknesses. Prayers became extremely long and concern for personal morality often led people to becoming negative to the things of the world. Hence an outlook of no drinking, no smoking, no cards, no dancing and no theatre was often found among Pietists.

The Pietist outlook of J. J. SCHULZ is made evident from where he chose to worship in Victoria. Not at Tarrington where one found the old Lutheran position and where the Pastor was Hannover born, but at South Hamilton in a group known to be influenced by Pietism. Hymn books handed down in the family were not the old Lutheran Breslau hymnals, but Alexander's Song Books or Sankey's songs. Most of the family prayer books were from the great Pietists of the period. Some of the fine concern for personal prayer and support of missions remained in the Schulz family for some time. I believe that the strong Pietist outlook Johann Joachim SCHULZ brought with him, set a pattern to follow for the Schulzs' of several generations in Australia."