Looking back: German migrants settle in district

Bega Pioneers' Museum has countless files on people and places. This history comes from its Tarraganda file.

Farming pursuits: Kilian Koellner (pictured with his family) grew corn and fattened pigs on his Tarraganda property before turning to dairying.

Farming pursuits: Kilian Koellner (pictured with his family) grew corn and fattened pigs on his Tarraganda property before turning to dairying.

THE Koellner family, who arrived from Germany in 1855, took up residence at the top end of Murrays Flat, which was later owned by the Ernest Otton family.

When the Government sold by auction  land alongside the Brogo River at Tarraganda on June 15, 1860,  the block next to Richard Rogers was purchased by John Pruss, another German  immigrant, for 26 pounds.

Pruss sold the block on March 15, 1861, to George Nicholas Koellner. On his death it passed to his three sons, J P (John), A K (Andrew) and K (Kilian), and Kilian purchased the shares of his two brothers.

Kilian left it his son, Alf who, in turn, left it to his son, Kingsley, and Kingsley sold it to Ray and Bev Lane.

The western portion of the Koellner property was always known as the Tin Mine, but it was really never a tin mine.

An early Bega settler named D Kiss had leased it from the Government as a tin mine, but Kilian Koellner later purchased it after the ruse was discovered. Kiss used it to grow corn. Kilian Koellner at first grew corn, and he fattened  pigs by turning them into the corn paddocks. 

The pigs were driven overland to Tathra and shipped to Sydney for sale, but later he began dairying and  in the early 1900s he built a magnificent stone dairy which still stands.

Milk was set in large flat dishes, skimmed off by hand and made into butter which was packed in small round containers and shipped by boat to Sydney.

It is thought the Gee family purchased Rosedale near Nelson Flat at the same auction in June 1860. James Gee was a very early settler at Moruya where he had a blacksmith shop.

As a result of his business there, when the town was laid out, they called the main street Vulcan Street after his smithy. After purchasing Rosedale, he moved there with his family.

Unfortunately he was soon beset with mental problems and he died before the decade was out. His widow and some of his sons carried on farming there, but later sold to Mick Clark.

Arthur “Artie” Clark, his son, later had a dairy there. Mrs Mick Clark was the daughter of the early builder/architect Patrick O'Connor, and he also lived his last days on the property, dying there in early 1899.

At the time of his death the Bega Standard reported that he had arrived in the Colony in 1841 from Wexford,  Ireland, and that he was the last of the early district pioneers.

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