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Hahndorf Pioneers - Were Your Ancestors on the ship 'Zebra'?

The aim of this article is to allow you to identify if your ancestors were on the ship 'Zebra', including the women whose names are sometimes lost in the Hahndorf pioneer story, and to promote inquiry into the pioneers of Hahndorf, 1838.


Table of Contents

The 'Zebra or [Zebra von Altona, gerfurt durch Captain D.M. Hahn. Jahr 1840] - digital collections - State Library of South Australia PRG 578/11

1.  A Look at the Literature:

1.1  David Schubert

1.2  Captain Dirk Hahn

2.  Cabin Passengers

2.1  Herman Friedrich KOOK from Lübeck

2.2  Dr Matheison from Schleswig

Ship 'Zebra', water colour painting by John Coord 2004.3.  Passenger Family Names

3.1  Female & Male Family Names

3.2  Single women, widows and new widows

4.   Ages of children on the 'Zebra'  

5.  Where did the 'Zebra' Emigrants Come From?

5.1  Did you know, that the 1838 German villages are now Polish villages?

5.2  Dispossession of Germans living in the 'Zebra' old villages in 1844.

6.  Locating the German Villages of 1838 in current day Poland by following the German/Polish border.

6.1  Linking Brandenburg with current day Poland.

6.2  Comparing the size of Europe with that of Australia

6.3  Using the Oder River as a guide to finding the German villages belonging to the 'Zebra' emigrants.

6.4  Frankfurt an der Ode played an important part, in the journey the Lutherans undertook, to get the King's permission for them to leave Prussia.

6.5  Welcome to Poland.

6.6  Current day Schwiebus remains a beautiful city of some 22,000 residents.

7.  Geographical locations and distances between their village

7.1  All of our 'Zebra' ancestors came from within this red square below.

7.2  How far apart are these villages?

8.  Pastor Kavel and the church in Klemzig

9.  Arrival in the Province of South Australia

10.  Bibliography and Additional Information

1.   A Look at the Literature:  

1.1  David SCHUBERT

There are no definitive passenger records for the 1838 voyage of the 'Zebra' when it departed Altona, Denmark (near Hamburg, Hamburg), on 12 August 1838,  arriving off Holdfast Bay, in the Province of South Australia, on 28 December 1838. (Schubert D, Page 165).   Historians, local residents and descendants of Hahndorf pioneers, RegBUTLER and AlanWITTWER have both written extensively about many facets of the their Prussian heritage.  DavidSCHUBERT updated his book in 1997 (see cover photo on right) and has referenced their work along with many others in 'Kavel's People From Prussia to South Australia.'  The Bibliography on page 179, lists David's primary and secondary sources as well as over thirty Family Histories.

For this article, reference sources, regarding 'Zebra' passengers, their relationships within that group and the distribution of land to these passengers is from this book.  My lists and charts are based on David's records, pages 114-116 and 164-169.

David has listed 8 family groups/individuals that he was unable to include in his list of 'Zebra' passengers and he provides a rational for this decision.  These names are BOTHE, FIEDLER, FLIEGERT, JAESCHKE, KLUGE, LINKE, NITSCHKE, SCHIRMER.  For more detail on which family members were included within these surnames, see page 169.  Note: there were three other families of NITSCHKE's that are on his 'Zebra' passenger list.

1.2  Captain Dirk HAHN

                      SLSA:B7477                             Captain Dirk Meinez Hahn ca 1836. Photo courtesy of the State Library of South Australia.The 1838 voyage of the 'Zebra' was captained by Dirk Meinetz HAHN who had never sailed to Australia before.  Hahn was an experienced first mate and had previously captained the 'Zebra' from the West Indies, back to Altona, in 1836.  He remained as captain of the 'Zebra' and then voyaged to North and South America, (Blaess, F.J.H. page......) but by his own admission he was reluctant to embark on this voyage 'by chance we also had the possibility of a cargo of emigrants to Adelaide in South Australia.  This news hit me like a shower of cold rain.' (Hahn, D. page 25).  

The Island of Sylt, 1848, Myers Gazette.In the harbour at Hamburg, thirty four year old Hahn sought out  the captain of the 'Prince George' from whom he received advice and chart information. (Hahn, D. page 26.).  In command of the 'Prince George' was Frederick Bigger Chilcott.

Hahn's passengers were adults, widows, grandparents and children who had left their homes in early June and travelled up the River Oder and through waterways to Berlin and then up various rivers to Hamburg.  Less than two months into their travel they boarded their ship on 29 July, 1838.  Years later, Hahn admired 'their steadfastness in remaining true to their faith after eight years of daily persecution.' (Hahn, D. page 45).  

These protestant emigrants followed Pastor Kavel, and came to be known as 'Old Lutherans' because for some years they had refused to join the Prussian Union of churches as required by King Frederick William 111, (Old Lutherans, Wikipedia.).  Two ship loads of these refugees, from villages relatively close to each other, followers of Kavel, and with the same motivation to flee had already left from Hamburg.  First the 'Prince George'  (189 emigrants) on 8 July 1838, then the 'Bengalee' (23 emigrants) two days later on the 10 July, later, after the 'Zebra' (departed on 12 August with possibly 198 emigrants) came the 'Catharina' (125 emigrants) on the 21 September 1838 (Moad,  The estimated numbers of passengers departing Hamburg and Altona, do not depict the number who arrived in the province of South Australia.

In this article I am only considering and referring to the 'Old Lutherans' who were on the 'Zebra' which arrived on 28 December 1838.  It was not until after New Years Day that passengers were able to disembark, on 2 January 1839.

Captain HAHN was 'born 1804 at Westerland, on the Island of Sylt, then under Danish Rule', refer Localwiki  'Captain Dirk Hahn (1804-1860)'.  He left behind his wife and newly born son Dirk living on Sylt, when he departed in August.

Island of Sylt, top left hand corner.The Island of Sylt is 10kms off the coast of mainland Germany.  As seen on the map here, it is found in the upper left hand corner, on the same latitude as the German/Danish border.

Note the Elbe River flowing NW out of Hamburg towards Cuxhaven, the same waterway the 'Zebra' travelled north on.  The Elbe, over 700kms long, is a major waterway of Central Europe begins in the Czech Republic, and from Hamburg it is another one hundred kilometres before it reaches the North Sea.

Also note Schleswig and Lübeck, on this map, the locations from where the only two cabin passengers came.  These places are hundreds of kilometres from where the 'Old Lutherans' originated.  

We are able to read about Hahn's passengers and his adventure because some years later he wrote down his reminiscences which were transcribed, translated and published as 'Emigrants to Hahndorf, a Remarkable Voyage'.  A very unique book, worth a read.


2.  Cabin passengers

2.1  Herman Friedrich KOOK from Lübeck

The other cabin passenger was Hermann KOOK, an 'agriculturalist/surveyor.' [Schubert, D. page 169] who originated from Lübeck which is 285 kms NW of Berlin.

Hermann Friedrich KOOK  b9 Feb 1807, d13 March 1887, N.S.W.Reg Butler wrote 'Highways and Byways' in 1992 and he refers to KOOK as 'The Creator of Hahndorf's hufendorf layout.'  Herman Friedrich Kook was born on 9th February 1807 at Lübeck, an ancient Hanseatic City, which only several years previously had acquire by treaty considerable farm land to add to the city proper.  Adolph 11, Count of Holstein, founded Lübeck on the banks of the Trade River and encouraged merchants and various political fugitives to live there, so that the population was vigorous indeed in it s deatsire for continued independence.  Shortly after Hermann Kook's birth, in 1810, Napoleon incorporated Lübeck into the French Empire, from which Prussia and its allies rescued the city in the battle of Leipzig during 1813.  Throughout Hermann's childhood, Lübeck was still a fortified settlement, but by the time he left for South Australia, the protective outer walls had been taken down. It is highly possible that Hermann Kook came to agricultural stock just outside of the city limits, for he was a skilled farmer as well as surveyor in Australia.  Surrounded by its own 130 square miles of farmland, Lübeck is built on the northern edge of the Great Plain of Northern Germany, an area which contains little fertile soil.'

'Hermann Kook spent much time gaining agricultural experience in nearby sandy Mecklenburg and marshy Holstein.  Here, he learnt more of how to coax flourish plant growth from infertile soil and no doubt used his surveying skills to assist in some of the many projects to drain water-logged soil and form lush cattle pastures instead.  Because professional duties often took him into the fifty kilometre region separating Lübeck from Hamburg, kook no doubt began to know people from the later place.  Perhaps through these contacts, Hermann kook learnt of the imminent departure of Hahndorf's founders from Hamburg during the 1838 summer.  The South Australian Company in London had engaged Robert Swaine, an English diplomat permanently resident near Hamburg, to hire vessels and fit them out for this long voyage to South Australia.  Very possibly, Mr Consul Swaine enquired about widely for an agricultural advisor and surveyor to accompany the emigrants.  However it happened, the Company hired Kook to do the job.'

Now a thirty-one year old bachelor, H. Kook left for South Australia as a cabin passenger aboard the 'Zebra' from Altona, Schleswig, Denmark, on 12 August 1838.......while Captain Hahn accompanied three stockholders who had just bought a vast tract of countryside in the Adelaide Hills, Kook remained behind with the rest of the passengers to await results.  On 25 January 1839, Captain Hahn agreed with the landowners that they should apportion the 'Zebra' passengers 100 acres [later increased to 150] of land on which to establish their South Australian homes.  Nineteen acres of this were reserved for houses and roads, while the rest would become farm land.  Hermann Kook had the job of settling the people onto their new property.  They had to pay him 40 pound a year for helping them, while the three British landowners provided the remainder of his support......In high summer heat, Hermann Kook laid out Hahndorf on the land where his fellow passengers... agreed to live.  He chose the time honoured Hufendorf plan of medieval German origin.  The fifty four families lived in a 'U' arrangement of their house allotments, while their often odd shaped farm blocks filled up the centre and ranged around the outside of the U.  Kook had about a month to finish his surveying, as the first families arrived on the site in early March 1839....the layout allowed a majority of the house allotments direct access to one of the several streams and gave the founding settlers a better chance to share more equably the patchy good soil.'

'Kook remained in Hahndorf for two years.  Very likely, he lived on House Allotment No 1 in Victoria Street, shortly before the place where Male Crescent turns off to the left.  Probably, Kook is to be identified with the Mayor, a paid official, but his wages were not high, mentioned in flour miller John Dunn's memoirs, who had to settle minor disputes amongst the settlers.  However, most of Kook's effort went into assisting Hahndorf into becoming a self-sufficient agricultural community and in this he had great success.'

Quickly, Hermann Kook adapted to the agricultural customs of his new country,  Her perceived that the traditional German equipment and methods of cultivation did not suit Australian soils and climate, ​I would advise any person coming hither not to lay out too much money in; ready money is very valuable and it is better to buy most of the tools here, such as are made for the colony.  Those which are Brough out are often useless, and become broken with our hard woods.  On 17 November 1841, Kook wrote to Captain Hahn: The village of Hahndorf has already 500 head of cattle, besides 8 draught oxen and 8 of the small horses; plenty of pigs, geese, fowls etc....To this, the Germans... have six sections, of which 500 acres are good land, and upon which 62 families reside....

In his article 'Hahndorf Town Plan' E.A. Wittwer attributes the 1839 surveying of the village house allotments to Hermann Kook.  Alan writes, KOOK, ‘he produced a U-shaped plan with its base running along Main Road, and the left and right 'limbs' edged by North Lane (now Victoria Street) and South Lane (now English Street).  Inside the U, Church Street and Balhannah Road now intersect at the central area that was set aside for St Michael's Church.  The blocks were numbered 1-54 and each was sufficiently large enough for a house, a subsistence garden and a small farm'. 

2.2  Dr Matheison from Schleswig

There was a Ship's surgeon and one cabin passenger on the 'Zebra', along with 16 crew.  The surgeon was Dr MATHEISON from Schleswig (SCHUBERT D. page 169) and Captain HAHN says he 'was to keep order among the people and to make sure that everyone received the portion due to him'  There are many interesting interactions that Hahn recalls, between the doctor and the passengers.  Reg Butler in 'Highways and Byways'  says '...the controversial Dr Matheison, who got into constant trouble with the 199 passengers over his methods of treating sickness amongst them.'


3.  Passenger Family Names

3.1  Female & Male Family Names

The  'Old Lutherans' boarded the 'Zebra'  on 29 July 1838.  Young children or infants died while they were still in the dock and it wasn't until the 12 August that their voyage began. The 'Zebra' departed from Altona, which is a Danish river port, immediately downstream from Hamburg.  While still in the Elbe River several more children died.  Hahn states that from 198 emigrants, there were 11 deaths, making 187  'Old Lutherans', arriving off Holdfast Bay, South Australia on 28 December (Hahn, D page 58).

Below is a list of the family names of the 'Old Lutherans' as listed by David Schubert page 165-169.  I have separated out the female passenger's maiden names, where they are known. 

Illustration no 1, JBH

3.2  Alphabetical list of Family Histories written about Zebra passengers


3.3   Single Women, Widows and New Widows

These three women & one man were widowed prior to departure, possibly in Brandenburg, Prussia.

  • Dorothea Elisabeth SCHULZ nee PAECH 42 years came with two children 12 and 8 years old.  Dorothea's younger brother J Friedrich PAECH 36years old, was also on the 'Zebra' with his family.   
  • Eleonore KLUGE age unknown, maiden name RICHSTIEG (www.theshipslist), possibly in her late thirties, came with two children age 19 and 15 years.  Husband Gottfried died, possibly in South Australia (see Schubert, D. page 115 & 116) 
  • Friederike KIRSCH 56 years, maiden name unknown, had her daughter Anna Dorothea SCHIRMER and her family on the 'Zebra'.  Anna SCHIRMER's husband's, widowed father, Friedrich Gottlob SCHIRMER 56 years came with his children aged 16 and 11 years.

These two women were widowed during the voyage to South Australia

  • Eleonore HELBIG  nee KOCH, 37 years,  had a seven year old son on the voyage and her husband Friedrich died at sea 22 September 1838.  
  • Anna Elisabeth KLENKE nee GIERKE, 49 years had her 21 year daughter, Johanne Dorothea with her.  Anna's husband Christian died at sea at 51 years of age (Schubert, D. page 166) and had been a shoemaker.  Christian had his younger sister and her family on the 'Zebra', they were all from the same village, Maria Elisabeth KLENKE, 39 years, who was married to Christian JAENSCH.  They had six children with them.

Widowed soon after arrival in South Australia.

  • Dorothea SCHMIDT nee KLUGE, 50 years, had 4 children aged 20 to 13 years.  (ADD to this)

Single Woman

  • Maria JAENSCH 44 years old, was travelling with her younger brother Christian, 40 years and his wife and six children, same JAENSCH as mentioned above who was on the 'Zebra' with his wife Maria nee KLENKE and their 6 children.


4.  Ages of Children on the 'Zebra'.






Age of Children

16 years or under

1 BARTEL Christian 44 m Maria Elisabeth nee KIRSCHE 41 21, 16, 12, 8 3
2 BARTEL Gottlob 41  m Elisabeth nee BINDER 40 19, 14, 8, 4, 9mths 4
3 BARTSCH Samuel 37 m Eleonore nee MEISSNER 38 10, 7, 5, 3, 2, 3mths 6
4 BEHREND Gottfried 35 m Beate nee LICHTENSTEINER 35 11 1
5 BOEHM J. George 42 m J. Karoline nee KÖNIG 37 15,  11,  8,  6, 3 , 1 6
6 BRETTIG Samuel 42 m J. Luise (unknown maiden name)  44 10, 3 2
7 DOHNT J. Gottfried 43 m Anna nee NEUMANN 40 20, 18, 16, 13, 10, 8, 3 5

HELBIG Friedrich 35

Friedrich died on 'Zebra'

m Eleonore nee KOCH 37 7 1
9 JAENSCH Christian 40 m Maria nee KLENKE 39 15, 13, 9, 6, 5, 2 6

JAENSCH Maria 44 - single, unmarried older sister of Christian above.

3, 18mths 2
11 JANETZKI J. George 32 m Luise nee LUDE 28    

KIRSCH Friederike 56 - Widowed before departure, mother in law to J. Christian SCHIRMER

13 KLENKE Christian 51  - Christian died on 'Zebra' m Anna nee GIERKE 49 21  
14 KLUGE Gottfried. - Gottfried died ? in SA m Eleonore nee RICHSTIEG - unknown age 19, 15 1
15 LIEBELT J. Christian 38 m Maria nee KUCHEL 40 14, 12, 5 3
16 LIEBELT J. Christoph 33 m Anna nee WOLF 30 7, 4, 1 3
17 LUBASCH J. Gottfried 49 m Anna nee GREISER 41 16, 13, 11, 5, 3, 6mths 6
18 NEUMANN Gottfried 42 m Anna nee PFEIFFER 44 12, 10, 7, 3 4
19 NITSCHKE F. Wilhelm 35 m Maria nee SÜSS 35 10, 8, 6 3
20 NITSCHKE Gottfried 58 m Johanne nee WOLFF 58 - -
21 NITSCHKE J. Gottlob 30 m Anna nee HIRTHE 34 6, 3, 5mths 3
22 PAECH Friedrich 32 m Johanne nee JACHNING 36 7, 5, 2 3
23 PAECH J. George 45 m Anna nee RICHTER 27 18, 15, 12, 8, 4, 2 5
24 PAECH J. Friedrich 36 m Anna nee KRAMM 33 11, 9, 5, 3, 6mths 5
25 PFEIFFER J. Georg 47 m Anna nee NEUMANN 47 19, 17, 12, 8, 6, 3 4
26 PFEIFFER J. Georg 59 m Christian nee SCHLIEFKE 56 30, 26 (both unmarried adults), 18, 16, 12 2
27 RILLRIGHT Gottfried 44 m Anna nee WOITH unknown age 20, 17 -
28 SCHIRMER J. Christian 33 m Anna nee KIRSCH 34 4 1

SCHIRMER F. Gottlob 56

​widowed before departure

  16, 11 2
30 SCHUBERT Christian 51 m Elisabeth nee BARTEL 48 16 1
31 SCHULZ J. Christoph 47 m Johanne nee FRANK 49 28 (unmarried adult), 20, 7 1

SCHULZ - widowed before departure

m Dorothea Elisabeth nee PAECH 42 12, 8 2

SCHMIDT Gottlob 50                     

widowed soon after arrival, S.A.

m Anna nee KLUGE 50 20, 17,  16, 13 2
34 STEICKE Samuel 40 m Johanne nee PAECH 36 15, 13, 5, 2 4
35 SÜSS J. Friedrich 67 m Christiane nee THIELE 67 43 (unmarried adult) -
36 WITTWER J.F. Wilhelm 38 m Johanne nee GERLACH 34 9, 6mths 2
37 ZIMMERMANN J.Friedrich 38 m Anna nee ZIMMERMANN 39 11, 8, 2 3

19 young adults aged 25-17 years.  +

3 women and 2 men unmarried and  over

the age of 25 years .


96 children,  

16 years or younger

Illustration no 2, JBH 

There were96 children, 16 years old and younger, who arrived with their parents on the 'Zebra'.  There were 19 others aged from25-17 years of age, giving a total of 115  'children'.  Of these 115 children passengers, under 25 years of age, 56 were female  and 59 were male.  

There were 3 unmarried women over 25 years of age , Maria JAENSCH 44 years, who travelled with her brother, Eleonore PFEIFFER 30 years with her parents and 4 siblings,  and 43 year old Eleonore SUSS with her parents in their late 60's.  There were two unmarried males over 25 years, Eleonore's younger brother Johann Christian PFEIFFER 26 years, and 28 year old Johann Christian SCHULZ travelling with his parents and siblings.

Dr Lois ZWECK OAM (2022) has told me that any passenger over the age of  '14 years had to pay an adult fare.  Fourteen was also the age of Lutheran confirmation and the school leaving age, some would commence apprenticeships and other begin their adult working life.'  This system was brought with the Prussians to South Australia and it was continued here.  'At 15 farmer's sons would start going shearing.  In Germany 25 years was the real age of adulthood that is the age they could marry without parental consent'.  Women often married much younger, men rarely, because they could not marry without a 'domicile certificate' to prove they had a home for their bride'.  That was also the age they would normally have completed an apprenticeship and journeying and could apply to be accepted as a master and citizen. In farmer families marriage also seemed to correlate with the death of the father, that is when the children receive their inheritance; or the parents retire, with a formal retirement contract, so the inheriting son can take over the farm.'


5.  Where Did The 'Zebra' Emigrants Come From?

5.1  Did you know, that the 1838 German villages are now Polish villages?

All of the villages/towns that the emigrants came from were known by German names.  This is no longer the case,  all of those places are now known by Polish names, because they are in current day south west Poland.

In this section I will only display the German name of their village/town.  In the spread sheet, 'illustration No 4' the current Polish names will be matched to the German names.  In 'illustration No 11'  a map provides their location.

The 'Old Lutherans' came from 12 villages that were located in southern Prussia and known by the following German names:

Möstchen, Skampe, Mustchen, Friedrichsfelde, Kay, Nickern, Schönborn, Rissen, Rentschen, Rackau, Klippendorf, Guhren & Jehser.  As well, one family came from a city known as Schweibus.  All of these places were in the province of Brandenburg,  

There was only one family that came from a  village outside the province of Brandenburg.  It was  the village of Brätz in the province of Posen.  Some family historians  have wrongly stated that the 'Zebra' emigrants came from Silesia.  This is not the case.  The furtherest distance between all of these villages is 25kms, and many of the places are only a few kilometres from each other.  

Each of the villages named above, are, on the illustration below, in red.  Underneath each village name, I have  listed & matched each of the families (married name, maiden name & number of children) that came from those villages.

Illustration no 3, JBH

5.2  Dispossession of Germans living in the 'Zebra' old villages in 1844.

After World War 2,  there was a mass forced exodus of Germans living in this area that was once Prussia.  Between 1944-1948 millions of people were permanently removed by Stalin from east of the Oder River.  By 1950 the total was 12 million (Wikipedia: Flight and expulsion of Germans 1944-1950).  The dispossessed Germans were  replaced by other dispossessed (Polish) people from central and former eastern Poland.  These villages, as well as Schwiebus and Brätz were then renamed.  This has often added a layer of difficulty when trying to find where ancestors originated from in Brandenburg, Silesia or Posen.  The previous province of Brandenburg, in the Kingdom of Prussia is now Lubusz Voivodeship (province), western Poland.

Below, is the same list of passenger names, in the same order, 1-37 as the one under the heading above  'No 5. Ages of children on the 'Zebra' .'

 The first line, 'No 1' is the family of Christian BARTEL, his Prussian village was known as Möstchen before WW2 and is now a Polish village known as Mostki.  'No 21'  is the family of J Gottlob NITSCHKE and their Prussian villages was known as Kay and is now known in Poland as Kije.


Family Name

Village Then

Village Now


Family Name

Village Then

Village Now
 1 BARTEL Christian       Möstchen          Mostki           21 NITSCHKE J. Gottlob Kay Kije
2 BARTEL Gottlob Möstchen Mostki 22 PAECH Friedrich Nickern Niekarzyn
3 BARTSCH Samuel Skampe Skape 23 PAECH J. George Kay Kije
4 BEHREND Gottfried Schwiebus Swiebodzin 24 PAECH J. Friedrich Rentschen Radoszyn
5 BOEHM J. George Muschten Myszecin 25 PFEIFFER J. George Kay Kije
6 BRETTIG Samuel Brätz in POSEN Bröjce 26 PFEIFFER J. George Rakau Raków
7 DOHNT J. Gottfried Guhren Góry 27 RILLRIGHT Gottfried Friedrichsfelde Podlesie

HELBIG Friedrich 

Friedrichsfelde Podlesie 28

SCHIRMER J. Christian

Nickern Niekarzyn
9 JAENSCH Christian Kay Kije 29


Nickern Niekarzyn


Kay Kije 30 SCHUBERT Christian Möstchen Mostki
11 JANETZKI  J. George Müstchen Myszecin 31 SCHULZ J. Christoph Klippendorf Przygubiel

KIRSCH Friederike

Nickern Niekarzyn 32

SCHULZ D Elisabeth nee PAECH

Rentschen Radoszyn

KLENKE Christian  

Kay Kije 33

SCHMIDT Gottlob 

Skampe Skape

KLUGE Gottfried 

Nickern Niekarzyn 34 STEICKE Samuel Kay Kije
15 LIEBELT J. Christian Nickern Niekarzyn 35 SÜSS J. Friedrich Kay Kije
16 LIEBELT J. Christoph Nickern Niekarzyn 36 WITTWER  J. F. Wilhelm Guhren Góry
17 LUBASCH J. Gottfried Rissen Rosin 37 ZIMMERMAN J. Friedrich Jehser Jezory
18 NEUMANN Gottfried Kay Kije        
19 NITSCHKE F. Wilhelm Kay Kije        
20 NITSCHKE Gottfried Kay Kije      


Illustration no 4, JBH


6.  Locating the German villages of 1838 in current day Poland by following the German/Polish border.

6.1  Linking Brandenburg with current day Poland.

The map below, on the left,  illustrates the Provinces of Prussia in 1815, and almost all of the 'Zebra' emigrants came from Brandenburg.   None came from Silesia.  The city of Berlin is shown to be in the centre of Brandenburg.  The current day border between Germany and Poland is the River Oder which is east of Berlin and runs south to north, and is shown entering the North Sea in the current day right hand map.

The small red square east of the river is geographically the area all of our 'Old Lutherans' came from and as a guide, it is 160 kilometres from Berlin.  The red square measures 25kms x 25kms and within that square all of the 'Old Lutherans' came from.   That red square reference point can be followed on the maps below. 

These maps also illustrate where the two cabin passengers (Dr MATHIESON and Hermann KOOK) & Captain Hahn came from, and the hundreds of kilometres distance they were away from the 'red square'.

Illustration no 5, JBH

6.2  Comparing the size of Europe with that of Australia

From their villages in Brandenburg, Prussia, the first hurdle for the emigrants was to journey 600 kilometres along the waterways to the Port of Altona just north of Hamburg.  

Illustration no 6, JBH

6.3  Using the Oder River as a guide to finding the German villages belonging to the 'Zebra' emigrants.

On map below, the thin black line, going from north to south, the Oder River, is the current day border between Germany and Poland. Note the 'red square' in relationship to Berlin and the city of Frankfurt an der Oder. The red square measures 25kms x 25kms and within that square all of the 'Old Lutherans' came from.

Illustration no 7, JBH

6.4  Frankfurt an der Ode played an important part, in the journey the Lutherans undertook, to get the King's permission for them to leave Prussia.

The river barges that conveyed the 'Old Lutherans' from their villages to the Port of Hamburg did not come as far north on the Oder River as Frankfurt an der Oder.  Instead they turned into the famous Friedrich Wilhelm Kanals just below this old city.  This photo was taken on the bridge where traffic moves across the border/river between Poland and Germany. The Polish city of Slubice is on the eastern bank.

Illustration no 8, JBH

6.5  Welcome to Poland.

You have just crossed the border into south west Poland and the 'red square' is now 80kms SE of Frankfurt an der Oder. The old city of Schwiebus (now the Polish city of Swiebodzin) was the closest major centre of business and commerce in 1838 along with Sulechow further south.  In between those cities were and are still, farms, small villages, forests, rivers and lakes.  On the following maps German names are always in brackets next to the present day Polish name.

The blue arrows follow the Oder River as it turns east through Poland and the actual arrow terminates at the old town of Tschicherzig.  This is where the families heading for the Port of Hamburg and ultimately the  'Prince George', 'Bengalee', 'Catharina', or the 'Zebra', first departed on their barge journey. All of the 'Old Lutheran's'  leaving their villages within the 'red square'  had to transport their belongings to this port on the wide rivers edge.  This is where they were given a rousing send off by friends and family who they may never have seen again. The combined total of all the passengers on all four ships, leaving this wharf area in early June 1838, was over 600 passengers.

The main river stream continues south from Frankfurt an der Oder and becomes the River Neisse which continues south to Prague, Czech Republic.

The BRETTIG family from Brätz, just over the border into the Province of Posen, are the only family on the 'Zebra' who were not from Brandenburg.  With their two children they travelled the furtherest to arrive at Tschicherzig, a distance of about 40 kilometres.

Illustration no 9, JBH

6.6  Current day Schwiebus remains a beautiful city of some 22,000 residents.

 Saint Michael Archangel church, bottom right, adjacent to the town square, was reconstructed after a great fire in 1541 and was used by Lutherans from 1570-1651.  The other buildings face the same square.

The shoe maker Gottfried BEHREND, and his wife Beate nee LICHTENSTEINER, with one child, were the only emigrants to come from this city and travel on the 'Zebra'.

Illustration no 10, JBHŚwiebodzin

The walled city of Schwiebus, Brandenburg, Prussia, as shown here may have been familiar to the BEHREND ancestors.


7.  Geographical  locations and distances between their villages.  

7.1  All of our 'Zebra' ancestors came from within this red square below.

The entire map below, is now the 'red square'  & it encloses all 14 places that the 'Zebra' emigrants came from.  That is, all of their villages, farms and one city (Schweibus) is within this red square, the same red square that was identified in illustration no 5, no 7, no 8 & no 9.

  • Each green rectangle, with white writing,  is an 1838 Prussian village place name.
  • The current day Polish village equivalent is immediately below it, within a red circle.
  • The 14 'boxes' outside of the map, with green headings, name the same Prussian villages.  
  • Beneath the name of each corresponding village is the name of the families who came from those villages.
  • The only exception are the two 'boxes'  in the top right hand corner which related to the Brettig  family from  Brätz, because it is just over the border in Posen.  
  • The small village of Guhren is not marked with a red circle because it is too close to the village of Kay to be distinguishable.

Currently, in general terms, all of these old Prussian villages are very small Polish towns.  Little has changed in their appearance  over many decades: there are very or no shops, no petrol stations or community centres, very few 'new' buildings, and they are surrounded by woodlands, fields & large acreage farms. 

Illustration no 11, JBH

7.2  How far apart are these villages?

This map below, is identical to the one above, and provides a guide to the closeness of all of these villages. The distance between the only two cities, Schwiebus and Züllichau is a twenty minute drive, or twenty kilometres.  

I have chosen a couple of the villages to measure there distance from one another to give you the idea that it would not be unreasonable to think that most of the 'Zebra' passengers may  have known each other, or been related through marriage as well as having shared religious practice.

In the bottom right hand corner is  the village of Klemzig where August Kavel was the pastor, and around whom the instigation for their emigration in 1838 was centred.  Many of his congregation from Klemzig (Polish name is Klepsk), accompanied him on the other three ships, however there were no passengers on the 'Zebra' from Klemzig.

The suburb, in Adelaide, known as Klemzig, was originally the area along the Torrens River where the first 1838 German emigrants formed a village and farmed.  Later arrivals from the 'Zebra' in 1839, and others, moved further into the Adelaide Hills and formed Hahndorf.


8.  Pastor Kavel and the Church in Klemzig

Pastor Kavel's Church, in the unremarkable village of Klemzig, Silesia, [now Klepsk, Poland} built in 1250, is truly remarkable.

It is a unique half timbered church, with brick infill and a shingled roof, that disguises incredible beauty on its inner walls that is worth visiting, and many do.  Australian Lutheran connections remain very strong and visitors come in large numbers, shown around by the proud guardian.  August Kavel first came to Klemzig on 9 June 1826 and he preached his last sermon from this pulpit, bottom right, at Easter in 1835, 185 years ago.  Klemzig is on the bottom right of the above map.


The Klemzig (Silesia, Prussia) church used by the 'Old Lutherans'.  Since 1947 this church has been used by the Polish Catholic Church.


Please see the imaged created by Philip Schubert:

/roehr/prussianscenes.htmOther information can be found on


9.  Arrival in the Province of South Australia.

After 139 days aboard the 'Zebra' the 'Old Lutherans' anchored off the coast of Holdfast Bay, on 28 December 1838.  After spending New Year on their ship it came into the Port of Adelaide on 2 January, 1839.  Much is documented about the arrival, the benefactors Dutton, Macfarlane & Finnis, and their  journey to the hills above the plains of Adelaide.  

Captain John FINNIS, one of the benefactors mentioned above, is the great grandfather of Tony FINNIS  the administrator of this Localwiki site.  See Tony's engaging article of his ancestor, on this website, under  'Captain John FINNIS (1802-1872)'.  I am grateful for Tony's assistance and the opportunity he has provided for myself, and others, fascinated by our German history, who write or provide articles for this site.  


10.  Bibliography and Additional Information

  • Anitta Maksymowicz, Emigration from the Brandenburg-Silesian-Posen borderland to South Australia in the 19th Century, Museum Ziemi Lubskiej, Zielona Góra, Poland, 2010.
  • Brauer, A., Under the Southern Cross, Lutheran Publishing House, Adelaide, 1885.
  • David Schubert, Kavel's People: from Prussia to South Australia, 2nd end., Openbook Publishers, Adelaide, 1997
  • Hahn, D.M. Emigrants to Hahndorf - A Remarkable Voyage (English translation of Die Reise mit Auswandern von Altona nach Port Adelaide Süd-Australien 1838 (edited by Buchhorn, M., transcribed by Huck, F.R., translated by Kersten, L.) Lutheran Publishing House: Adelaide, 1989.
  • W Iwan, Because of their Beliefs: emigration from Prussia to Australia, David Schubert (ed.), H. Schubert, Adelaide, 1995.
  • E.A. Wittwer, Pioneers of Hahndorf, 1839, E.A. Wittwer, Hahndorf, 1988.
  • Moad, G.
  • Blaess, Dr F.J.H. Extract from 'Hahndorf and Its Academy' as found in Localwiki  'Captain Dirk Hahn (1804-1860) Old Lutherans, Wikepeadia.
  • wwwtheshipslist


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Note:  Janis, it is assumed that a new page will be created for the 'stuff' below - so it has not been deleted for now.

Also, consider adding any additional information to Pages already existing rather than creating new page/s

- Tony


How did the land get divided up?

This page, until the end of this work, is a work in progress

1 BARTEL Christian       Möstchen          HB 38   34,36 Main    21 NITSCHKE J. Gottlob Kay HB42  13 English
2 BARTEL Gottlob Möstchen HB 49   39,31 English 22 PAECH Friedrich Nickern HB 11  7 Victori
3 BARTSCH Samuel Skampe HB 35  44,44A Main 23 PAECH J. George Kay HB 37  38 Main
4 BEHREND Gottfried Schwiebus HB 2     29 Victoria 24 PAECH J. Friedrich Rentschen HB 48 25,27 English
5 BOEHM J. George Muschten HB 27   68,70 Main 25 PFEIFFER J. George Kay HB4 21 English
6 BRETTIG Samuel Brätz in POSEN HB 44.  17 English 26 PFEIFFER J. George Rakau HB46 21 English
7 DOHNT J. Gottfried Guhren HB 6.  17 Victoria 27 RILLRIGHT Gottfried Friedrichsfelde HB20 94 Main

HELBIG Friedrich 

died at sea see wife

Friedrichsfelde HB 52  37 English 28

SCHIRMER J. Christian

Nickern Niekarzyn
9 JAENSCH Christian Kay HB 22  84, 86, 88 Main 29


Nickern Niekarzyn


Kay No Land 30 SCHUBERT Christian Möstchen Mostki
11 JANETZKI  J. George Müstchen HB 30     60 Main 31 SCHULZ J. Christoph Klippendorf Przygubiel

KIRSCH Friederike

widowed before departure

Nickern No Land 32

SCHULZ D Elisabeth nee PAECH

Rentschen Radoszyn

KLENKE Christian 

died at sea see wife 

Kay   33

SCHMIDT Gottlob 

Skampe Skape

KLUGE Gottfried 

died prior to departure

Nickern   34 STEICKE Samuel Kay Kije
15 LIEBELT J. Christian Nickern HB 15.  104 106 Main 35 SÜSS J. Friedrich Kay Kije
16 LIEBELT J. Christoph Nickern HB 29.  62 64 Main 36 WITTWER  J. F. Wilhelm Guhren Góry
17 LUBASCH J. Gottfried Rissen HB23    80, 80A, 80B 82 Main 37 ZIMMERMAN J. Friedrich Jehser Jezory
18 NEUMANN Gottfried Kay HB 24.    78/78A Main        
19 NITSCHKE F. Wilhelm Kay HB 3      27 Victoria        
20 NITSCHKE Gottfried Kay HB 31.    58 Main    


In 1939, 100 years later after arrival the entrance statement of the Hahndorf  'Pioneer Memorial Gardens' displays a list of which families were pioneers of Hahndorf.

Below is the entrance to the Hahndorf Pioneer Memorial Gardens, taken December 2020.

  1. On each side of the gateway is a list of surnames of the early Pioneers, specifically those that had been allocated land in the new village of Hahndorf, 1839.
  2. Land allocations were given to Prussians who arrived on ships other than the 'Zebra'.
  3. David Schubert's book, Kavel's People, page 116, explains that these names were gathered in 1939 from a list compiled by Pastor Alfred Brauer some years earlier. In those days  it was thought the Pioneers of 1839 comprised 38 'Zebra' families, as well as 14 extra families who joined the group from their settlement in Klemzig. As such the names on this arch represent 52 families.
  4. More recently there has been further research and discrepancies have been found.
  5. On this website under 'Pioneers of Hahndorf 1839', E A Wittwer provides a detailed rationale of the land allocations in 1839.  Wittwer also points out that the use of North & South Lane cannot be attributed to any documentation & on this point David Schubert also concurs.



    Hahndorf 'Pioneer Memorial Gardens' as it looked in 1939.

    • Photograph taken by the Advertiser, under the heading 'Memorial Unveiled at Hahndorf-Centenary'.

    The separate list of names on the far left is taken from the Memorial.  

    •  They are the male surnames of those that arrived on a ship other than the 'Zebra'.

    House Block allocation, as per David Schubert page 114-116.

    This page is a work in progress, all figures are accurately portrayed but more detail may be added soon.

    Where were these allocated allotments?

    • This map was created by E.A. Wittwer in 1983 to establish how the original house blocks  in Hahndorf were numbered.
    • At the top of the map the numbers 4002, 4003 and 4004 represent the original  land section numbers on which the town was first surveyed, probably by Hermann Kook.
    • The green colours do not represent any size of the blocks but rather which blocks went to the families on the 'Zebra'

    INCOMPLETE 2 March 2021

    Eleonore HELBIG  nee KOCH, 37 years,  had a seven year old son on the voyage and her husband Friedrich died at sea 22 September 1838.  Eleonore married settled in Hahndorf then married J. Friedrich SCHWARTZ a tailor, soon after arrival (source:Localwiki Ship Zebra (28Dec1838), Reg Butler computer files). Friedrich had bought his family from Seiffersdorf, Prussia on the 'Catharina' arriving the 25 January, 1839.  His wife died on the voyage leaving him with children 9,7,4 and 2 years of age. (Schubert, D. page 175). They did not stay in Hahndorf but moved from Glen Osmond to Klemzig then Langmeil in the province of South Australia.  Anna Elisabeth KLENKE nee GIERKE 49 years had her twenty one year daughter, Johanne Dorothea with her. Anna's husband Christian died at sea at 51yrs of age (Schubert, D. page 166) and had been a shoemaker. His daughter, Johanne became the first woman to marry (Johann Samuel KUCHEL) in Hahndorf  'under a gum tree and parrots were eaten at their wedding breakfast'. (source:    ). Christian had his younger sister and her family on the 'Zebra', they were all from the same village, Maria Elisabeth KLENKE, 39 years, who was married to Christian JAENSCH.  They had six children with them. Dorothea SCHMIDT nee KLUGE, 50 years, had 4 children aged 20 to 13 years.  See Localwiki  'Schmidt-Rodert farmlet-Hahndorf', to discover where this widow lived in Hahndorf and how it has been conserved.