2013 Reunion, Family News & Updates

Pioneer Orara Valley clan remember family history

Article from Coffs Coast Advocate today, see you all on the weekend!

Amandus & Mary Ann Hoschke & family

AN ESTIMATED 150 descendants of Orara Valley pioneer settler Amandus Augustus Ludwig Hoschke and his wife Mary Anne, nee Drew, will gather this weekend to take a trip down memory lane.

The reunion marks 150 years since Prussian-born German merchant navy sailor AAL Hoschke jumped ship in Australia and left his seafaring life behind for good. He was just 17 years old.

In 1886 with his wife of six years and a growing family to support, the then railway fettler Augustus read Eugene Rudder’s account of the fabulous Orara Valley in the Town and Country Journal and decided it was time to move north from Orange.

He was one of the first six selectors in the Orara Valley when land there was thrown open for settlement, joining David Small, Richard Ferritt and John McLeod at Upper Orara, Col Buchanan at Karangi and Mr Gail at Coramba.

The family made the long journey by ship to Grafton and by bullock team to Coramba, where they camped in a shed for six months while Augustus and his sons cleared land and built a house.

Their first home near the river flooded almost immediately, so they had to begin building again on higher ground.

Early years were hard for the settlers because there was no grass for horses or cattle. The family hunted and fished and used hoes to cultivate corn, pumpkins, tomatoes and other vegetables in the ashes of the rainforest trees they felled to clear the farm.

The men walked to Coffs Harbour or Fernmount to collect supplies brought in by ships, and the women’s weekly outing was to the creek to do the washing with their neighbours.

Mary Anne did not leave the valley for seven years and her first family holiday to Diggers Beach was curtailed before it began when one of her sons broke his leg and they had to return home.

Amandus was a bush doctor who was able to set bones and pull teeth.

He also worked hard for the new community, helping newcomers and encouraging them to stay. He joined the Orara Valley’s early progress association and in 1899 showed great foresight in setting up a community milk separator.

Today Fred’s grandson Doug Hoschke and his family still farm at Upper Orara, but other descendants are spread far and wide.

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