A Trunk Tale

The Krautz Family of Jindera

This trunk, in its simplicity, symbolises one family’s search for and achievement of a new life. It was owned by Johann George Krautz (1833-1921) a 32 year old shoemaker who, with his wife Anna (1825-1879) and four children immigrated from Preilack in Prussia in 1865 aboard the Iserbrook bound for Port Adelaide. After the death of Anna in Rheinthal (in South Australia) George remarried, and with his new wife and five children followed their countrymen to the Jindera district of NSW.

After prospecting for gold the family established themselves as vine-growers and orchadists of note around Lavington. From the thousand apple trees planted by George a case of Granny Smith apples would win a gold medal at the 1924 British Empire Exhibition and his grandson, George August, would later send a case to China which was ‘most favourably commented upon’.

Inscribed on the back of the trunk is ‘No. III George Krautz uber Hamburg’ indicating that the family embarked in Hamburg and as shown by the word ‘Raum’ (room) the trunk travelled in the cabin with the family.

Once the family arrived and settled into their new home in Australia the trunk was painted and served as a piece of furniture, most probably for storing linen. The painting on the trunk is in the Bauernmalerei or peasant art style showing floral motifs against the German Protestant colours of red and blue and signifies the link with the family’s heritage whilst making a new life for themselves in a new land.