Emigrating


Jes Ann Marie and Peter probably left home on a boat from Hardeshoej to go down to Sondeborg and thence to Flensburg. From there they could go by train to Hamburg. The trio joined 350 other emigrants in steerage on board the Eugenie when it left Hamburg on 20 October 1871.


The Eugenie was an iron ship built in Hamburg in 1864, owned by Robert Slomas, under the command of Captain L Voss and with the newly graduated Doctor Jansen as surgeon. In the first cabin was Mr F A Buck, formerly the Immigration Agent in Hobart who was designated to be the German Consul when the vessel arrived. Buck had emigrated from Germany with his wife in 1853 and moved to Tasmania the next year and was soon naturalised. He acquired property, taught music and acted as an emigration agent. He produced a Handbook for Emigrants in English and German and two shiploads of his emigrants arrived in 1870.

When Buck announced he was returning to Hamburg the Tasmanian Board of Immigration he was appointed Emigration Agent for Germany and authorised to issued bounty tickets. The fare for the holder of such a ticket would be advanced by the Government and repaid by the emigrants employer in Tasmania. On arrival the emigrant would be contracted to that employer and would repay the cost from his wages. If small farmers emigrated at there own expense they would be eligible to receive free grants of land. Because of the cost of travel most emigrants used the bounty system. The Government terminated Buck’s commission in 1872 and as a result he returned to Hobart on the Eugenie.

If Jes was escaping military service it is understandable if he did not use his real name when registering with Mr Buck and the Hamburg Emigration Board. Ann Marie was listed as ‘a maid servant’ who had last lived in ‘Norburg, Schleswig’ when she got her bounty ticket. Jes and Peter still owed £6 on their fare when they arrived and Ann Marie owed £11 for her ticket. The Eugenie crossed the equator on 26 November and reached her first port of call, Santo Francesco in Brazil on 10 December. Here 158 emigrants disembarked. A further 42 left the ship in Itajaby on New Years day 1872 to make a new life in another of the German settlements in Brazil. The remaining 204 emigrants set off for Hobart on 9 January. After a voyage of 158 days the Eugenie dropped anchor in the Derwent at 3pm on Sunday 24 March 1872. On board there were 31 married couples, 27 single men, 14 single women and 84 children. There had been 11 deaths and 5 births whilst at sea. A number of passengers including Peter had been very ill and several made a formal complaint. Whilst the passengers were still on board the Chief Secretary appointed a three man board of enquiry to investigate the claims against the master, officers and the owners. It convened in Captain’s cabin on 27 March and immediately found some were suffering from scurvy and there were no vegetables on board. The enquiry interviewed all the passengers, a lengthy job since few spoke English and none of the Board of Enquiry spoke German. Mr. Buck had to act as interpreter creating a complex conflict of interest. As immigration agent he was responsible for ensuring that the contract to carry the emigrants safely to Hobart was properly carried out. But as Consul he was also bound to act in the interests of the ship’s owner and officers and as interpreter to act professionally in service of the enquiry. It appears he did none of his jobs well although 68 of the passengers signed a notice of appreciation for his services that was published in the Mercury. When the enquiry ended the Government found it was precluded by the charter contract from taking any action against Voss, Jansen or the owners. All such matters had to be resolved by the Hamburg Emigration Board so the Chief Secretary forwarded the report to them. Buck held onto the ship’s papers delaying the Eugenie’s departure for Newcastle until Voss paid him £10 for interpreting. Voss justifiably refused telling Buck it was the kind of consular service expected in port. Voss finally got away on 30 April.

Although the emigrants could come ashore and experience their new home, the
Eugenie did not tie up at Franklin Wharf until Saturday 30 March. The new Immigration Agent, B. Travers Solly, advertised for prospective employers in the Mercury the next day listing all on board and outlining their skills. Neither Jes nor Peter appeared on that list under their own names but they were there when another list was published the next Saturday but Ann Marie’s name was missing. Jes was listed as a farm labourer and Peter as a groom. When 12 April arrived, the day from which they could no longer live on the vessel, most still had no contracts of employment. Solly moved them to the Immigration Depot in Liverpool Street that had previously been the Women’s Hospital. Some were still there when the following incident occurred.

THE MERCURY May 9 1872
The qualification which an Immigration Agent should possess in order to prove successful in his vocation are generally admitted to be of a varied character. ……….
Mr Buck has for some time past been residing at the depot, acting as an interpreter and otherwise assisting in hiring out the immigrants. In order that he might always be at hand when required, he was provided with an office and bedroom at the depot, the latter opening off the former, and also communicating by a door at the opposite end of the corridor off which were some of the dormitories occupied by the immigrants. On Tuesday evening Mr Buck is stated to have attended a convivial party, from which he returned at an early hour of the morning accompanied by two young men whose names have not at present transpired.
After gaining admission, instead of retiring to his own bedroom, he made his way, of course by mistake, to one on the opposite side of the corridor occupied by a pretty young married woman, and a still prettier unmarried one. The visit did not, however prove acceptable to the occupants of the room, who immediately raised an outcry, and one of them having made her escape through the bedroom window roused the husband of the married female, who, on learning the state of affairs, and finding no other means of egress from the bedroom, bolted out the window and by means of the window of his wife’s apartment found an entrance, and finding the immigration agent there, forthwith seized and subjected him to a course of ratiocination in which the fortier in re was more conspicuous than the sauvitor in modo and which made the guardian of the morals of the immigrants by the Eugenie seek the shelter of his own quarters with wonderful celerity.

A Russian naval officer, Lt V M Linden, described Hobart in 1869. '
The climate of Tasmania was always distinguished for its salubriousness. The town evoked memories of Geneva – ‘the Derwent takes the place of lake Leman and Mount Wellington does duty for Saleve….Liverpool St is the Nevesky Prospect (the main artery of St Petersburg) It catches the eye with shops and signs and is animated by the bustle of commerce, by carriages, even by loungers’. He recorded that the population of Tasmania was 101,592 and growing slowly by 245 persons a year. ‘Tasmania is very short of labour. A day labourer earns from 3 to 5 shillings a day, craftsman 5 to10 shillings. While we were there, the arrival of several hundred Germans was anticipated. In their sobriety, industriousness, ability to deal with children, make do with little, stamina and knowledge of agriculture, Germans are considered here to make the best colonists.

Although well educated neither Jes nor Peter could speak much English and they had to take what work they could find. Few of the immigrants obtained positions quickly but Ann Marie was employed within a week, by the wine and spirit importer William Blyth in Trafalgar Place Hobart for £1/2/6 a week. (It is assumed that Jes and Peter also found work and stayed in Hobart for five months and cleared their debts. During this period Jes and Ann Marie were married at Holy Trinity Church in Hobart on 10 May 1872; witnesses included E. Johnston and the Immigration Agent B Travers Solly. The service was conducted by R D Poulett-Harris who Buck nominated to assume his place as German consular agent when Buck returned to Hamburg in July. Buck’s name appears on the wedding certificate as a witness but is crossed out. The involvement of the immigration officials in the wedding suggests that the Jessens were popular emigrants.