Family History

The Early Days of the Hoschke Family in Australia

The reunion is for all those who are descendants of Amandus Augustus Ludwig HOSCHKE and Mary Anne DREW. We believe all the HOSCHKE’s in Australia are their descendants.

Amandus Hoschke with grandsons Jack and Norman (sons of George).

Amandus Hoschke with grandsons Jack and Norman (sons of George).

They were one of the first six families to settle at Upper Orara which is inland from Coffs Harbour. It is an interesting story. The land was all scrub (sub-tropical rain forest). In the 1880’s electricity was not available. Hence, they did not have the facilities, which we are used to, such as house lighting, electrical appliances, telephone, radio, television or internet.

Amandus, born on 1 January 1844 in Stettin, Prussia (now Szczecin in Poland) came to Australia as a merchant seaman. In April 1870, he married Mary at Georges Plains near Bathurst. She had been born, in NSW, on 6 August 1847.

By 1886, Amandus was working as a railway fettler at Kerr’s Creek near Orange and they had 10 children. In that year, he decided to move to Orara. After paying fares, the family had only £36 (equivalent to $2,044 today) in savings.

In the first years, there was only a cedar logger’s track to Coffs Harbour. However, with the opening of the land for settlement, the government promised to build a road.

In those days, power for machinery usually was coal, wind or water. For farm work, animals were much in use. However, in the early days at Orara, there was no grass to feed horses or bullocks. With no means of transport, the settlers had to walk to where they wanted to go. All the clearing and growing of crops on the farms depended on the manual labour of the farmers. No shops, or a doctor, were available in less than a day of walking.

They built the original home close to the river, to provide easy access to water. However, due to heavy rain flooding the house on the first night, they had to move it to higher ground.

In the first seven years, three more children were born bringing the number up to thirteen. In that time, Mary did not leave the farm. Local women were midwives as there was no doctor in the area let alone a hospital.

Eventually with roads built to provide access to Coffs Harbour and grass introduced to feed cattle and horses then, after years of hard times, the settlers prospered.

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