I love coming across an interesting story you were not expecting to find. Something that is in no brochure or tourist info. This is one we stumbled upon on the road that I thought was interesting, especially since my Dad came to this country in the late 1950’s from Europe for a new life. We were driving through Springton S.A. not intending to stop and we saw this tree. M
Johann Friedrich Herbig came to Australia from Bremen in 1855 at 27yrs of age for a new life in South Australia. He had been a tailor but turned his interests to farming. He made this gnarled old hollow red gum tree his home for 5 years. He was the first of the Germans to settle in Springton.
His first job was on a dairy farm on which the tree stood. After considerable financial struggle he became the became the owner of this land. At 30yrs old he married 18yr old Caroline Rattery- a polish peasant who could not read or write. He brought her home to this tree. They had the first 2 of 16 children in this tree!
In 1860 they built a pine and pug dwelling 400 metres upstream from the tree and 4 yrs later built a stone cottage, which is still in use today. Almost penniless on his arrival the family assets had grown to nearly 1000 acres of some of the best land in the valley. He also helped to found the the Friedensberg Lutheran Congregration. M
Friedrich Herbig died in 1886 aged 58 from brain damage after being injured in a fall. After his death Caroline’s children taught her to read and write so she could sign documents. She died at 87. Descendants (in 2004) numbered 841. Five families still live in the area. M