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Wooden Tray - Tatura Internment Camp, Karl Muffler, 1940s Object Reg. No: HT 18234

Carved wooden tray made by Karl Muffler for his wife Hilde during his internment at Tatura Internment Camp between 1939 and 1944. The initials 'HM' have been carved into the tray. The tray demonstrates the kind of activities undertaken by interns (often instructed by other interns) to keep themselves occupied. Many internees produced craft during their time in internment camps and the Tatura World War II Wartime Camps and Irrigration Museum has a similar tray in their collection. Karl Muffler was interned as a German enemy alien at Tatura Internment Camp, from 1939 to 1944.

This item relates to Karl Friedrich Muffler, qualified pastry chef and confectioner, born in 1900, who migrated to Melbourne from Germany in 1930, aboard the passenger liner 'Balranald'. Muffler quickly established himself in Melbourne, commencing employment with Bill Ikinger (who had recruited and sponsored him) at his cake shop in Brunswick, as well as joining the long-running German establishment 'Club Tivoli'. Muffler went on to establish his own business, 'The Embassy' in Malvern, and in 1939 married fellow German migrant Mathilde 'Hilde' Mayer. At this time they were members of the 'German Labour Front' of which Adolf Mayer (Hilde's father) was president. On 4th September, 1939 Karl Muffler, along with dozens of other German residents (including his father-in-law), was placed into police custody as an enemy alien. He was transferred to Tatura internment camp and while there undertook woodcarving and drafting classes and worked as a cake decorator. He was transferred to a Forestry Commission camp in Broadford, and finally released in 1945. With no family left in Germany he decided to stay in Australia and became naturalised in 1947. After the war, Muffler accepted a position at William Angliss Food Trades School in Melbourne teaching ex-servicemen new skills in cake decoration. He maintained a connection to the German community though Club Tivoli and died in 1996.
Hand-carved wooden tray, gum/leaf motif inscribed at centre and carved around edges. Initials 'H.M.' (Hilde Muffler) inscribed in bottom right corner. There are 4 stoppers at the base of the tray
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Ms Sue Muffler, 2005
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 293 mm (Height), 475 mm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: cake decorating, forestry camps, german communities, german immigration, internment camps, pastry making, world war ii 1939-1945
Themes this item is part of: Internment during World War II Australia, Migration Collection, Karl Friedrich Muffler, German Migrant, Pastry Chef & Internee, 1930, Karl Friedrich Muffler, German Migrant, Pastry Chef & Internee, 1930
Primary Classification: MILITARY HISTORY
Secondary Classification: Internment
Tertiary Classification: art & craft
Inscriptions: Text: H.M.
Creator: Karl Muffler, Tatura, Victoria, Australia, 1940-1944
Place & Date Made: Karl Muffler, Tatura, Victoria, Australia, 1943-1944

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