Land for a new enterprise

James Lerk | Bendigo Weekly | 26-Oct-2017

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Last week I began to introduce Frederick Wilhelm Kraemer, the man who was an early arriver on the Bendigo goldfield from South Australia. 

Kraemer was a very successful digger having worked consistently in German Gully for about a year. 

He returned to Adelaide to bring his family and supplies back to German Gully. There on the southern part of the goldfield he established with his wife Johanna a store which rewarded the family rather well.

Having made his pile, so to speak, Kraemer bought land late in 1854 at “The Junction” almost adjacent to the yet to be established White Hills Cemetery. 

The family lived initially in a tent on their acquired land, however the whole family assisted in constructing a house from split wooden slabs.Kraemer’s land was covered in parts by the indigenous ironbarks, which he set about clearing and having the clayey soil trenched and turned over.

At every opportunity Frederick acquired loads of stable manure which was worked into the soil. By the close of 1855 there had been a reasonable sized orchard planted as well as decorative shrubs and other plants.

The Kraemer family called their property Sydenham Gardens, access to which was not without challenge, the area close to the Long Gully Creek being hectically worked by alluvial diggers and ever-increasing numbers of puddlers. 

The sludge from the puddling and cradling settled in the lower areas and these became no-go zones, as it was nigh impossible to traverse this mire.

Nearby the Long Gully Creek joined the Bendigo Creek which was suffering the same fate of sludge inundation and with other alluvial mining detritus.

Many diggers were working on the slightly higher ground where small dams and other facilities for storing scarce water had been constructed. 

Among all this clayey sludge and mire, Kraemer’s Sydenham Gardens was a veritable oasis, even though the trees, shrubs and plants were only in their early growth stages.

Access from the nearby White Hills was by way of the higher ground on the north western side of the creek. 

The White Hills in the 1850s witnessed an extraordinary hive of activity. Diggers had managed to learn how to penetrate the cement-like quartz gravels, the iron content of which over countless millennia had bonded them together. 

Under the gravel there was a layer of very fine pipe clay, which the diggers washed carefully to gain the alluvial gold.

Diggers from other portions of the field found the Sydenham Gardens a wonderful place to go to and soak in a more familiar visual setting to European eyes.

Kraemer was quick to capitalise on the presence of so many visitors. Cooks were kept busy in providing meals and having built a hotel near the corner of Holdsworth Road and John Street, he was able to dispense the amber fluid which was being brewed in Bridge Street. 

The gardens had a large amount of money lavished on them by Kraemer.

A number of fellow Germans who, like Kraemer, had been successful diggers also went on to buy land to be cultivated. 

They bought land along or near Emu Creek. Kraemer too had acquired land at Emu Creek which was intended for a vineyard, however by 1858 the just-established vines and land was sold so that he could concentrate his efforts on the land at The Junction.

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