Funding crisis

James Lerk | Bendigo Weekly | 15-Dec-2017


Speculation in mining shares led to Frederick Wilhelm Kraemer’s temporary financial demise. 

This man had enthusiastically lavished a very large sum of money on establishing the Sydenham Gardens and providing arguably the best appointed hotel and ancillary buildings for various recreational pursuits in that portion of Bendigo.

Thousands of pounds had been expended on the gardens, the returns from the hotel were very handsome, however the gardens themselves provided a limited income compared to the money that had been expended on them.

The sale of plants and cuttings had been a steady source of return but this was still restricted in its scope. Fruit in season along with the sale of vegetables, cut flowers and seedlings together with potted plants was also of financial assistance.

Kraemer had, apart from members of the family to assist him in the enterprise, a significant number of employees. 

Garden maintenance as any home gardener would be well aware, is a constant.

There was pruning to be done, trailing the vines, guiding the growth of climbing plants over the bowers and arbours, fertiliser application, soil to be cultivated, paths to be raked along with water irrigation from the dam.

As for the hotel, it too was quite labour intensive, with the constant cleaning, odd repairs, ordering and fetching supplies and the preparation of food. 

A significant amount of firewood was needed for the kitchen. Pickling vegetables and salting down the sauerkraut and the preparation of meat.

Fortunately there were a good number of German butchers in Bendigo and they specialised in the provision of a wide variety of small goods.

Most of the German small goods are pork based, it was the variety of sausages in particular, that were an attraction for the gastronomes of Bendigo. 

There was fleischwurst, blutwurst or blood sausage, bier wurst, the ever popular Frankfurter wurstenschen, Wiener wurstchen, bratwurst, mettwurst, weiswurst, sommewurst, salami, rohschinken or raw ham, kochschinken or cooked ham and last but not least katenspeck which is a farmhouse styled bacon that has been cooked and smoked. 

The katenspeck was carved off in thick slices heated briefly then served with kartoffeln (potatoes) and vegetables.

In the Diamond Hill area of German Gully area where initially Kraemer had made his money, Frederick had not ceased to be financially interested especially in the development of the mining leases in that locality. 

Some of his hard earned money had been used to speculate in a variety of these leases. 

All leases required a constant source of capital in order to uncover as was hoped, some rich reef. 

Unfortunately the optimism that was initially felt for these leases did not prove to be well founded and people such as Kraemer were constantly called upon to provide additional capital.

Cash flow had on the main been outgoing, quite suddenly in early 1859 Kraemer had creditors knocking at the Sydenham Gardens Hotel door, wanting to be paid.

He was in a bind and as a result had to file for insolvency. Kraemer faced the insolvency court in July, however he managed to come to an arrangement with his creditors and was able to stave off the inevitable sale of his beloved Sydenham Gardens and its accompanying hotel.


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