German Migration to Australia

An Immigration Discovery Centre Reference Sheet

The Immigration Discovery Centre has a variety of resources relating to German migration to Australia. On 9 September 2007, the Immigration Museum celebrated Victoria’s German community with ‘German Fest’, a cultural festival attended by over 2000 people. 

A man in the bakers cart of S. Siebert, German Bakery

A man in the baker's cart of S. Siebert, German Bakery
Source: Museum Victoria

To assist people with their research into their family history and German-Australian history and culture, the Immigration Discovery Centre staff prepared the following list of print and electronic resources.

Immigration Discovery Centre reference collections

Resources relating to the German community in Australia can be found in the Immigration Discovery Centre library. The library houses a diverse reference collection with a focus on migration, cultural diversity and Australian ethno-history. 

German migration to Australia

Australia-German Partnership 2000: Bridging Continents
Prepared by the Allen Consulting Group Pty. Ltd
Call no: IDC 382. 0994 0943 A938

German Presence in Queensland over 150 years: proceedings of an international Symposium August 24, 25 & 26th August. The University of Queensland
Call no: IDC 305.831 0943 G373

Bodi, Leslie and Jeffries, Stephen (eds). The German Connection: Sesquicentenary Essays of German Victorian Crosscurrents 1835-1935
Call no: IDC 303.482 320 94 G373

Darragh, Thomas A. & Wuchatsch, Robert N. From Hamburg to Hobson's Bay : German Emigration to Port Phillip (Australia Felix) 1848-51 
Published in association with the Wendish Heritage Society Australia 1999
Call no: IDC 994.500431 D225

Hargraves, Marta. Inducements and Agents: German, Northern European and Scandinavian Recruitment to Tasmania, 1855-1887.
Call no: IDC 304.894 604 H279

Harmstorf, Ian & Cigler, Michael. The Germans in Australia
Call no: IDC 994.00431 H288

Stuetz, Alfons. History of Jenning’s Germans 1951-1986.
Call no: IDC 994.7100 4310 H673

Tampke, Jurgen. Wunderbar Country: Germans Look at Australia 1850-1914.
Call no: IDC 304.894 W965

Tampke, Jurgen & Doxford, Colin. Australia Wilkommen: A History of The Germans in Australia.
Call no: IDC 305.831 094 T159

Voigt, Johannes Hermann & Jones, Brangwyn. Australia-Germany: Two Hundred Years of Contacts, Relations and Connections.
Call no: IDC 305. 843 0994 V892

Vondra, Josef. German Speaking Settlers in Australia
Call no: IDC 305.8943094 V946

The Hoffman family making German sausage in their backyard

The Hoffman family making German sausage at a table in their backyard.
Source: Museum Victoria.


Schweitzer, George Keene & Smalley, Anne M. German Genealogical Research.
Call no: 929. 107 2043 S413

Towey, Peter..An Introduction to Tracing your German Ancestors.
Call no: IDC 929. 1072 043 T739

Local Histories

Frank Cusack: Bendigo Heritage Society (Ed). Bendigo: The German Chapter.
Call no: IDC 994.5400 431 B458

Martin, John Stanley. A Divided Heart: A History Of Trinity, German Lutheran Church, Melbourne during the Pastorate of Herman Herlitz 1868-1914.
Call no: IDC 284.19451 M381

Mitchell, Ellen I. Baron Von Mueller’s German Melbourne: Papers delivered at a conference held by Plenty Valley Arts Latrobe University School Art History.
Call no: 994.51 B265

Torney, Eileen.,  Foster, Betty & Emmett, Brian. Early Families of Shepparton and District: Book two.
Call no: IDC 929.20994 E12

Wuchatsch, Robert & Harris, David. Westgarthtown
Call no: IDC 994.511 W959

Personal Stories

Barrack, John. Lamplight and Bluestones: Recollections of the Ziebell farm of Thomastown.
Call no:  IDC 929.20994 B737

Blaich, Horst. A Young man on the way to a new world of hope a story of Horst Blaitch who left Germany and arrived by the ship “Australia” in Melbourne 17th May 1951.
Call no: IDC 305.831 092 B634

Braun, Eddie. Aussie by Choice.
Call no:  920.009 23 B825

Eller, Jeanette. Loh Family History.
Call no: 894 3094 E45

Gross, Charles. The Family History of Friedrich Gross, 1853-1968.
Call no. 929.2 G878

Oppenheim, Ego & Oppenheim, Rae. Strong Ego and Thick Skin: Autobiography of Gerald Oppenheim and the story of Development of Ego Pharmaceuticals.
Call no:  IDC 338.766 855 092 062


Bossence, William Henry. Tatura and the Shire of Rodney
Call no: IDC 994.54 B745

Bullard, Steven & Tamura, Keiko. Blankets on the wire: the Cowra Breakout and its Aftermath.
Call no: IDC 940.54729445 B935

Hammond, Joyce. Walls of wire : Tatura, Rushworth, Murchison Community Histories.
Call no: IDC 940.5472945 H226

Sullivan, James T. Beyond All Hate: a wartime story of a Japanese internment camp 1941-1946.
Call no: IDC 940.5472945 S951-2

Williams, John Frank. German Anzacs and the First World War
Call no: IDC 940.40994 W723

Winter, Barbara. Stalag Australia: German Prisoners of War in Australia.
Call no: IDC 940.547294 W784

Dunera Affair

Bartrop, Paul R. & Eisen, Gabrielle (eds). Dunera Affair: A Documentary Resource Book.
Call no: IMHAM 325. 210 943 D 915

The Dunera Experience: An Exhibition at the Jewish Museum of Australia,
3 September 1990- Feb 1991.

Call no: IDC 325.210 74 D915


Fifth Columnists German and Australian Refugees in Australian Internment Camps by Klaus Neumann

German Migrant Identity by Kristy Dermody

Immigration Refugee, asylum, and settlement policies as political issues in Germany and Australia by Stephen Hoadley

Model Workers or hardened by Nazis-The Australian Debate about admitting German Migrants, 1950-1952 by Angelika E. Sauer

Contact the Immigration Discovery Centre

If you require further assistance with your research contact the Immigration Discovery Centre.

Phone us:
+ 61 3 9927 2726

Email us:

Write to us:
Immigration Discovery Centre
Immigration Museum
GPO Box 666
Melbourne 3001 Vic

Comments (51)

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Susan Althaus 15 April, 2009 10:53
where there any Althaus' in the early migrants to Australia?
Gordon Newton 24 September, 2014 21:47
Yes Susan, from Munchhausen Hessen Prussia
Discovery Centre 15 April, 2009 15:56
To check if there were any migrants with the surname Althaus you could try the Public Records Office Victoria for migration to Victoria prior to 1923, or National Archives Australia for migration to Australia after 1923.
anna 17 November, 2009 10:01
cool love it
Nicolle Ruppell 15 March, 2010 16:43
I'm researching my family history and have hit a roadblock. The earliest ancestor i can find is Conrad Ruppel (his marriage certificate stated he was born in germany) However i cant find him on any ship passenger lists. I did find a philip ruppel(arrived on commodore perry in 1857) who like conrad ruppel had a father named conrad ruppel. However i cant find anything concrete to link them. Were children not mentioned on any ship passenger lists?- i believe it is likely conrad ruppel arrived in australia as a child. Any help as to where i should go from here would be greatly appreciated.
Discovery Centre 16 March, 2010 11:25

Hi Nicolle – To follow up your enquiry you will need to contact the archives offices directly. Before 1923 each Australian state had its own office for keeping government records, including immigration records and passenger lists. There's a great list of these various archival bodies available online. Please note, if your ancestor arrived in Victoria prior to 1852, when Victoria was governed by New South Wales, these records are actually held by State Records of News South Wales!

Australia migration 31 May, 2010 20:20
While Australia is country of first world. Most one including German interested to migrate to Australia, me too. Anyway I am looking for some good resource about this issue I had some information from Australia migration Can anyone suggest me more how to get help really?
Discovery Centre 1 June, 2010 12:30

Information and advice about immigrating to Australia can be found at the website of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. We encourage you to explore their very detailed and up-to-date site.

peter smith 10 August, 2010 08:15
Hi, This for Nicole Ruppel. The Conrad Ruppel that she is probably the one who was born in Germany in 1841 and died in Fitzroy South in 1913. His father was Philip Ruppel 1810-1873 and grandfather was Konrad Ruppel 1784-1868 I have a family tree if she wants it Regards Peter Smith
Janine 6 January, 2013 16:12
Hi Peter As I am researching pioneer Germans to Melbourne who are buried in the Melb General Cemetery I would love to also see your family tree if that were possible. Cheers Janine
Kerrie 17 September, 2014 15:18
Hello Peter I would love to have a copy - I am a Ruppell by birth. Are you related to Elizabeth Smith? Thank you in anticipation. Kerrie
mighty wrighty 13 September, 2010 18:22
these resources are great but could you please provide a URL address for each of the resources. it would be much easier regards
Discovery Centre 14 September, 2010 13:45
Hi there mighty! Thanks for your suggestion. It is usually standard on websites to provide links to pages rather than URLs. As this is an online resource most people, including yourself, are generally reading this on the web. It's much simpler for people to click on a link than type in a url - particularly as many are long & complicated, with mistakes easily made if you're typing in the address. If you right click on the link and select 'properties' at the bottom you can see the full web address and copy & paste it if you wish.
lynette thomas 14 March, 2011 14:35
I am looking for info on my g.grandfathers Bernard Fensling and Christian Kauiers. They are not common names, but I can't find them on any passenger lists. All I have is that Bernqard Fensling arrives in Victoria 15th October 1865 on the Anna of Jarmot according to his naturalization papers and nothig on Christian Kauiers. Where do I look?
Kaye Thomas 15 March, 2011 23:06
Hi, I am doing research on my Ancestor Franz Heinrich August Wehsack I know he arrived in Victoria on 26/12/1857. I know he owned property in Melbourne central ands he was a cabinet maker, does your Museum have any information on him his wifes name was Johanna Greip who arrived with him as well as I think his brother Johann August Heinrich Wehsack. Thank you.
Raylene Nagy 29 January, 2013 22:44
Hello, I am trying to find relatives of William Robert Wehsack, born Richmond in roughly 1905. He married Clara? McAlpine, but was also married to Iris Birtles in 1926. Any information on Wm Robert Wehsack would be appreciated.
Discovery Centre 16 March, 2011 16:37
Hi Lynette. This sounds like a bit of a puzzle. The only thing we can suggest for Bernard Fensling, since you know the exact date, is to view the microfiche of the original passenger lists for all the ships arriving on that date - if you haven't already done this. You can look at these at the State Library of Victoria, Public Record Office of Victoria or, possibly you're local library. Possibly his name was spelled incorrectly on the indexed record. The other possibility is that he was just not recorded. Sometimes unassisted passenger were simply not listed. For your other great grandfather, try alternative spellings or perhaps access his death certificate as this may reveal when and where he arrived. You may find that you have to try the passenger lists at other states' archives to locate his arrival. Again, it is possible that he was simply not recorded.
Discovery Centre 16 March, 2011 16:45
Hi Kaye. We suggest that you try the directories from that period to try and locate your ancestor. The Sands & Kenny Directory, which was first published in 1857, can be found at the State Library of Victoria and has commercial indexes that may help you to locate him. Also, you might try searching the National Library of Australia's Trove website. It's possible that his name or business is listed or advertised in the newspapers of the time.
Michael Hamerston 8 July, 2011 17:49
For Kaye Thomas re Wehsack. I can assist you with quite a lot of information on your ancestor who is also related to my grandsons.
Raylene Nagy 11 January, 2013 13:21
Hello Michael, I am also trying to find more information on the Wehsack family, for an 85 yr old descendant of William. Anything would be appreciated. Trying to fit the pieces.
Kayye Thomas 1 December, 2013 23:07
Hi Michael, I noticed your replied back in 2011 on my ancestor Franz wehsack. I have since found out a lot on him but any other info would be terrific. where do your grandsons fit into our tree. Regards Kaye
Andreas Hoesch 14 August, 2011 13:22
Hi, I am looking for great-great grandfather Wilhelm Friedrich (William Frederick) Jakowski, who had a bakery in Melbourne between 1873 and 1889. Where can I find informations about this bakery? He had also land in Kangaroo Ground in the later years, may be more in parts nearby Melbourne. Thanks to all!
Discovery Centre 14 August, 2011 13:40
Hi Andreas. The first thing I'd suggest is to establish where in Melbourne the bakery was. You'll probably find it advertised in the local newspapers, which you can search these online at Trove. Once you know this you can look at directories, business records and images of the local area to find out more information. We had a similar question about pubs last year and wrote an article about it - some of the resources there should be relevant to your search. There may even be a local history of the suburb in which it was located that will give some information. You should also look to see if there's a relevant local history society that you can contact to obtain further ideas about researching the area.
Miffy Robb 27 September, 2011 21:49
I am looking for the arrival in Australia of Edward Adam Elias Schlichtwig and Auguste Sellberg or anything regarding the Schlichtwig family, also spelled Schlechtweg and variations on the theme. Thanks
John Sebire 1 February, 2013 23:10
Edward was probably Eduard Adam Elias Schlechtweg and Auguste was Augusta Zielberg. They were married in Myrtleford Victoria on 12 November 1861. They gave their usual address as Wagga Wagga, NSW where he was a quartz miner. Neither appear to have come through Victorian ports.
Tianna 28 October, 2011 11:31
Im from Currumbin Primary in queensland and we r studdying german australians, what is was the main reason for german's immagrating to Australia?
Andreas Hoesch 24 January, 2012 20:27
Hi, I have again a question. Does somebody know a location in Kangaroo Ground which was called "Pine Tree Hill" in 1873-1905? Thanks!
Kerrie Lavery 10 February, 2012 16:38
Hello Peter I am also researching the Ruppell's and would love to get a copy of your family tree.
Jasmine 16 February, 2012 15:17
Can you put info here? This is just a bunch of people and I need some info 4 my research!
Discovery Centre 16 February, 2012 16:05

Hi Jasmine, the list above is a list of resources that are available in the Immigration Discovery Centre.  We are open from 10am until 4.30pm, 7 days a week, and the friendly staff and volunteers are more than willing to assist you with finding these books.  And on the right hand side you will also find a number of useful links, many of which will assist you with your research. 

Joogan 27 February, 2012 11:43
um did they have chicken in germany? i am in grade 3, and i am 7 years old.
Lu-loo 27 February, 2012 11:46
Did they have flushing toilets back then?
Tori 27 February, 2012 11:48
Did they have brick houses?
Discovery Centre 3 March, 2012 09:31

Hi Tori,
The oldest bricks ever discovered date from before 7500 BC, so they have certainly been used in house-building for a long time! In the 12th century a type of brick architecture called Brick Gothic was popular in parts of Northern Germany. You can read more about it on Wikipedia.

Discovery Centre 3 March, 2012 09:38
Hi Joogan,

There is evidence for the existence of chicken on the European continent as far back as the 6th century BC. You can read more about the history of chicken at the following two websites, History for Kids and Food Timeline.

Discovery Centre 3 March, 2012 09:43
Hi Lu-Loo,
The first flush toilets on the European continent may have been the three "waterclosets" installed in the new town house of banker Nicolay August Andresen on 6 Kirkegaten in Christiania, insured in January 1859. The toilets were probably imported from England, as they were referred to by the English term "waterclosets" in the insurance ledger. You can read more on Wikipedia.
Valerie Stanton 26 August, 2012 14:31
Hi i am looking for Hohn or hoehne family that came over to tasmania 1855 on the ship Wilhelmsberg.
Discovery Centre 26 August, 2012 14:53

HI Valerie,

To locate your family records you will need to contact the archives offices directly. Before 1923 each Australian state had its own office for keeping government records, including immigration records and passenger lists. There's a great list of these various archival bodies available online. Please note, if your ancestor arrived in Victoria prior to 1852, when Victoria was governed by New South Wales, these records are actually held by State Records of New South Wales! To search the Victorian records you will need to search the Public Records Office of Victoria.

Cameron Yang 17 October, 2012 10:43
Hi, wondering where to find information on official migrants to Australia after 1950. Specifically from Malaysia/Singapore.
Catherine 8 January, 2013 20:05
I am trying to make a family tree but I need more information on my great grandfather his name was Theodore Victor Fankhauser he was the youngest of 10 children he was born 14th of march 1895 and died 1938 . His family owned an Orchard in Balwyn Victoria I know all his family members names and his parents but want more information about the family etc as my grandma has dementia so it's hard for me to find out more
Ron Meehan 16 April, 2017 20:28
Catherine, I have come across this request tonight. There was a Dr and Mrs Fankhauser, who entered Victoria on the ship MOLDAVIA in March, 1908. I was surprised by two things tonight; the lateness of this entru and the fact that I found a reference to a Fankhauser family supporting the establishment of a Methodist Church in Wantirna in 1914. The family is also linked to Balwyn and Burwood, so it is possible that the family was already present long before 1908. There are several entries in a German history at Prahran library ( online ) at
Discovery Centre 10 January, 2013 15:33
Hi Catherine, If you are looking for family member records you should try contacting the National Archives of Australia.  Also consider searching for the family member in Trove.  Finally you can try contacting the Balwyn Historical Society which may have information on the Orchard.
Emma 23 October, 2014 12:32
I need to find and individual to reasearch!! help please
Kevin Higgins 23 May, 2016 13:41
To whom it may concern. I am a Gr/Gr/Gr Grandson of Christian Kauiers. Maybe we might have information to share???? Regards Kevin.
Debbie 6 September, 2016 04:31
Trying to chase descendants of Charles Henry Hoffman he eventually settled in WA born in Prussia according to research in 1864 between 1874-1884 came to Australia according to naturalization papers he arr on procida but not on passenger list. He eventually married Florence Annie Oliver there family from Stawell Victoria.
Naomi 19 November, 2016 22:27
Hi, I am the descendent of a German assisted immigrant who arrived to Sydney in 1855. I noticed that most of the immigrants were listed as being able to read & write. I'm curious to know if this would have been in English or German? Thanks in advance.
Discovery Centre 27 November, 2016 10:18
Hi Naomi, 

A tricky question! We've done a bit of preliminary research and not eaily found the answer. We've contacted our curatorial staff, who are not in a position to take this on as a research task - however, we've compiled a list of resources on the topic that might be of interest to you, and may contain the answer:

Happy researching!  
Evelin 27 November, 2016 16:16
How do i find out ANY information on my father , Heinz Pamp , who arrived from Bremerhaven to Melbourne on The Anna Salen ship in 1952 ?
Discovery Centre 27 November, 2016 16:29

Hi Evelin,

We have answered a similar enquiry you posted on a different part of our website: 

Scroll down for our response. Happy researching!

Max keller 22 June, 2017 23:10
0My great grandfather Johan keller migrated to Australia in 1856 moved to yackandah in Victoria was naturalized in 1909 is there any history of his life in germany
Discovery Centre 25 June, 2017 14:31
Hi Max, 

This sort of information is not really kept by Australian state or federal institutions, but rather by the issuing entity which in this case would be the German government, or an equivalent state authority.
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Related Resources

Internet Resources

German Club Tivoli: the Oldest German Club in Melbourne.

Deutsch in Melbourne: an internet platform for all German activities in Melbourne.

Die Woche: Australia’s only German Language Weekly.

Geothe Institute: Germany’s Cultural Institution in Melbourne and links to more.

German Australia: The history of German-speakers in Australia and their immigration.

German Consulate in Melbourne

German Linx: linking Victorian students and Teachers of German: a wealth of information about German migration history.

Infobahn Australia: Australia wide information in German for travellers and others.

SBS Radio's German Language Program: your local radiostation in German language.

Tatura - Internment Camp

Vicnet German Community Directory: Vicnet provides community internet services to Victorian not-for-profit organisations.

Westgarthtown: a historic site on German and Wendish settlement in suburban Melbourne.