Background to a linguist

James Lerk | Bendigo Weekly | 25-Jan-2018


Inextricably linked to the history of Huntly is the Strauch family, the founder of this important clan in our area was an accomplished linguist Conrad Jacob Frederick Gustavus Strauch.

With such a string of given names it is little wonder that in everyday usage he had simplified it, and was known as Frederick Gustave Strauch. 

Apart from his linguistic skills, Strauch was defined as a gardener when he was living at Huntly. 

The term gardener had a broad meaning, it could be a person who tended other people’s gardens, or had their own garden, but it could also mean someone who had an orchard and grew grape vines, which was Strauch’s category of this definition.

Strauch’s father was Christian Freidrich Wilhelm David Strauch and his mother Anna Margueretha nee Parrot.

Strauch was born on November 21, 1825, at Sachsenhausen, Frankfurt Am Main, he had one sister Marie Elise Mathilda. 

Strauch was baptised at St John’s Lutheran Church 30 days later. 

Tragedy hit the young family early; in 1831 their mother Anna died and the two siblings were then taken care of by Anna’s sister, their aunt, along with grandmother Parrot.

The children’s father was a merchant and he operated barges on the rivers, which at the time was the main form of transport in many parts of Germany before the arrival of the railways. 

Strauch senior saw his children only from time to time because of the nature of his barge transport work. 

It is clear that the children were well educated and refined as the family was financially quite comfortable. 

Through study, young Strauch had learnt to be fluent in five languages, a skill that he was later to put to good use when he moved to Victoria.

As with most men in the period that Strauch was educated and grew up, he underwent military training and was appointed an officer, because of his background in what was then still a very class-conscious society.

Little was seen of his uncle Jacob Parrot as well, as he had an extensive military career, serving a variety different country’s armies with great distinction and was the recipient of 11 decorations. 

This was the period when Napoleon’s armies were overrunning much of Europe and later the age of revolutions had set in.

Uncle and aunt Parrot did not have children of their own so they lavished plenty of attention on Strauch and Marie.

Jacob Parrot was born in 1792 his first commission took place in 1809 in a campaign known as the Dragonerlt. 

In 1812 he was in the Auxiliarkorps in Russia, 1813-15 in Italy and worked in the fortification of the Alps and the Apennines. 

Pacification in Piedmont in 1821, by 1837 he was a General Commander at Lvov followed by the suppression of unrest in western Galicia. 

By 1848 Parrot became involved in the battle for Vienna, he rose to the rank Field Marshall, Jacob von Parrot died in Vienna in 1858.

Strauch and his sister Marie were left the entire estate of two of their uncles, Ernst F Parrot and Jacob von Parrot, as well as the estate of their father. 

The decorations such as the Order of the White Eagle bestowed by the Czar of Russia and other decorations are in the hands of various Strauch descendants.

The three estates which the Strauch siblings were the beneficiaries of were quite valuable, there was property involved as well as cash and other investments. 

The income from these estates was sufficient for them both to become quite independent financially. 

Grandmother Parrot, who had helped raise the Strauch children, died in 1848.

Their merchant barge owner father passed away in the following year.

My thanks to the Strauch family for giving me access to their valuable family research.


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