A supportive wife

James Lerk | Bendigo Weekly | 09-Feb-2018

From the hills of Scotland: Christina Simpson Strauch.

A German and a Scot came together to become husband and wife, they were Frederick Gustave Strauch and Christina Simpson Strauch nee Taylor.

Christina was born at Mid-Lothian which is a county south east, and bordering the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh.

Mid-Lothian is renowned for its beautiful undulating hills and there are quite a number of castles there as well as in the other parts of Scotland.

Believed to have been born in 1836, Christina’s father was apparently named Peter and she had a brother David. Peter’s occupation was that of a goal warder. 

It seems Christina came to the colony of New South Wales on the ship Tudor. Christina worked onboard as a cook, and classed as a servant, this leads one to speculate if she was in the employ of a wealthy family who were also on the ship. 

The ship sailed from Birkenhead on the Mersey River near Liverpool on May 9, 1860, Christina’s age at the time was recorded as being 23. The Tudor berthed in Sydney on August 17, 1860.

There is speculation that Christina was in the employ of the Degraves family, they had been well known for their brewing interests, sawmilling and flour milling activities particularly in Van Diemen’s Land.

Branches of the Degraves family moved to Melbourne for greater commercial opportunities and it is highly likely that Christina was in their employ as a servant.

Gold discoveries in Victoria had brought enormous wealth into Melbourne. The Degraves had expanded their flour milling to Flinders Lane beginning in 1851 by 1859 another was added at Carlsruhe. 

In 1867 Degraves constructed a flour mill in Hargreaves Street here in Bendigo, the enterprise was so successful in its early stages that they expanded their operations the following year.

Some researchers suggest that Frederick’s wife was born Christina Simpson Gillespie and had married a man named Taylor, but was left a widow in a very early part of this marriage, hence the name Taylor. 

As mentioned in an earlier article she married Frederick Gustave Strauch at Collingwood on March 18, 1863. 

At the time of their marriage they already had one child, William Walter Strauch. Another son was born to the couple some years later in 1865, he was called Friedrich Gustavus then two years later Conrad Ernest came on the scene. Conrad was followed by another male Alfred Edward in 1869.

There was a break in the regularity of the births when Frederick G Strauch had been in Germany and was seconded into the Franco Prussian War while he was visiting his homeland to sort out his investments and the legacy there.

The first daughter was to be Jessie Margarith born in 1873 she being followed by another girl Isabella Mathilda in 1877.

Two more sisters were to follow, Christina Ottillia 1879 and Bertha Maria in 1881, she was the last of the eight children for Frederick and Christina Strauch.

The Strauch children were all well brought up and those that stayed in the Huntly area helped to become the backbone of that community. 

Frederick died in July 1901, by that stage all the investment money had run out and the children set up a trust account with the Sandhurst Trustees for their mother, she being able to draw a modest regular income up until the time of her passing on September 11, 1916. 


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