German migrants to Australia have always been welcomed because of their love of enterprise and adventure, even though in early days they sometimes needed assistance from a German translator to make themselves understood. As far back as 1879 Queensland Premier Thomas Mcllwraith remarked that “one hears or sees nothing of them for eighteen months or a couple of years. Then some fine day they return from the bush in their own attractive turnout, wife and children seated high, and all well-dressed and happy-looking.“
History does not record why 18-year-old Frank Henry Vogler left his home town of Wurttemberg on 7 November 1863 to board a tiny sailing ship called Johann Cesar. It almost foundered one stormy night while heading off to Moreton Bay, although in the end, all was well.
The Brisbane Courier reported at the time that all 231 passengers were Germans, and that of these, there were 67 bachelors and 20 spinsters. Everybody was in a healthy state barring two small babies who had died on the voyage. So it seems that Captain Falck who commanded the 414-ton barque knew his stuff too.
Upon arrival, Vogler was put to menial work for two years to pay his passage. Hopefully, he understood what was required, for there were no German translation services then. After that, he became a sheep farmer and achieved notable success until he fell down a mine shaft at Mount Perry in 1903 and died aged fifty-six.
His widow Mary Jacoby Vogler was made of stern stuff too, for she successfully sued Queensland Copper Company for damages. It’s worth noting that she had no German NAATI translator to help her translate legal documents either.
These days the local farmers seem to have things a little easier at least according to the photo by Ian Britton (http://www.ianbritton.co.uk/). Special thanks to the McNamara Family for the picture of the sailing ship.