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Australia is grateful for the contributions its German settlers made (and indeed continue to). Our official translation service is currently exceptionally busy preparing migration and business documentation for the current wave.

We decided to take time out to discuss a noteworthy migrant who arrived in 1852 on the brig Reiherstieg, and left great memorials behind.

George Balthasar van Neumayer was a young man of twenty-six when he set sail for Sydney, intent on applying his astronomical and geophysical skills. After researching the newly-discovered Victorian goldfields, he decided to build an observatory in Melbourne instead. He returned to Germany where he convinced King Maximillian II of Bavaria to support his venture, and others to provide money and equipment.

By 1869, his observatory was complete and he had time to join Victoria’s Exploration Committee for a while. In 1876 he became interested in German polar research. His namesakes include a cattle station in North Queensland and the nearby parish church, a crater on the moon named after him, and Germany’s research station in Antarctica. Quite some guy! We wish we’d been around to do his German translation work for him.

We acknowledge with thanks the photo of the sailing ship we discovered at Find Boat Pics, and the basecamp that Planet 64 kindly photographed. Further information on George Balthasar van Neumayer is available from Teachers Ash.