Uncertainty never resolved: to be German, Australian, or German-Australian? The Dilemma of Victoria's Germany Community until WWI

Research Lounge Level 5, North Wing Arts West University of Melbourne


Volkhard Wehner
PhD Completion Seminar

German immigration to Victoria commenced in early 1849 but a true community did not form until the early 1870s, and its unity did not last. The reasons for this slow evolution, early decline and eventual destruction form the backbone of my thesis. This seminar focuses on a crucial weakness of the community, its indecisiveness. It examines the various causes for this attitude, the existing evidence, and will then interpret the various outcomes. Major themes addressed include the dichotomy of the community between its rural and urban parts, the causes and impact of its lack of leadership, the reasons for its failure to engage in the politics of the colony/state, and the effectiveness of the Lutheran church and the community’s secular institutions in guiding it and asserting its rights.