from Hamburg with Captain Andressen, arrived Port Adelaide December 24,1851


The South Australian REGISTER Newspaper's Passenger List for the HELENE.

(approximately 120 passengers, including 92 known as the WENDS of Saxony)
led by Johann ZWAR (b.1821)
who came to South Australia with his wife Magdalena Schmal (b.1819) and their daughter Maria 3 (b.1848).
Their new little son was born on Dec 4th on the voyage, but died on December 21st, 1851.

Johann ZWAR's Diary

Background on the WEND arrivals:
1848 was to become a significant year in European history. In Saxony the land was owned by the Barons, or Lords of the Manor. The farmers could only rent the land they worked, and this helped to keep them poor. It was not unusual for the Lord of the manor to own complete villages, including the churches. There were uprisings in Paris and these spread across Europe and included Dresden, about 60 kilometres west of the Zwar home in Drehsa, Saxony. The ideals of Freedom and Equality of the French Revolution reached the Wends of Lusatia. The Wends took the opportunity to present a special petition to the Royal Saxon National Assembly for better treatment for the Wends.

The petition, which runs into many pages, requested legal status for the Wendish language in the Courts, and asked for Government support for Wendish Schools and Churches, requesting: “that the honourable Royal Saxon General Assembly give consideration to and grant that the Wendish language may have the same right among the Wends as the German language has among the Germans, and this particularly in the schools, churches, in law-making and in the law courts.” It seems likely that this petition was unsuccessful.

In 1848 the first groups of Wends left for South Australia, firstly on the ship VICTORIA and then another 46 on the ALFRED. Johann and his brothers Peter and Michael discussed plans to migrate to Australia. Michael was a member of the first Wendish group to emigrated to Melbourne, Australia on board the PRIBISLAW, in 1849. Soon after Johann, his wife and their new baby were on their way to South Australia. Johann’s brother Peter arrived in 1854 from Saxony with his bride Magdalena, and lived with Johann for a while in the Barossa Valley. Peter and his wife then moved onto a small farming property nearby and lived there for ten years. Peter was a carpenter and built a number of houses in the District.

One of the greatest thrills for the Wends who went to Australia was to own their own land. When the Wends went to Australia they bought farming land as soon as they could, even if they were carpenters or blacksmiths by trade. If they could own land like the feudal barons they felt they would be in the wealthy class forever!

NOTE: Another HELENA, from St Johns (New Brunswick) arrived Port Adelaide December 6th, 1851
(reported in the South Australian REGISTER on December 8th, 1851 - no passengers listed)