Monday, July 12, 2010

In the Beginning

On the eve of my eighth decade in this world I have decided to record the memories of my life in a quilt and a blog. I really regret that I never sat down with my mother before she died and recorded her stories and the memories of her life. Some of her tales I remember, but so often I was too busy to bother or had other things to do. It is sad how little time we have to spare for what we later consider the important things in our lives. Maybe this blog will enable my children and grandchildren to share the memories of my life.

My mother was an amazing woman. She, Laura Wilhelmine Heyne, was born in 1905, the third child of Carl Franz Heyne and Wilhelmine Caroline Dorathea Lehmann. My great grandparents were from Germany; their families coming to Australia in the late 1840s, early 1850s. My great grandfather Ernst Bernhard Heyne was a botanist, linguist and mathematician who after migrating to Australia in 1850 worked at the Melbourne Botanical Gardens as chief plantsman for Baron Ferdinand Von Mueller. In 1868 he moved to Adelaide where he established a plant nursery at Norwood and opened a shop in Rundle Street. He was well known for his newspaper articles and papers on horticulture and viticulture and published a gardening book in 1871 - the first of its kind in South Australia.

E.B. Heyne

In 1870 he married Laura Hanckel, daughter of Johanne and Edouard Hanckel, bookbinder and bookseller. They owned a house in William Street Norwood just around the corner from Laura's parents house in Sydenham Road. The properties remained in the family for many years Sydenham Road in 1978 on the death of Ida Heyne and William Street until the death of my mother in 1903.

Laura and Ernst had five children, Agnes who married Casper Dorsch, Laura, Carl, Ida and another son Carl who died as a baby. Agnes, Laura and Ida were highly respected teachers in Adelaide for a number of years. Laura was the Senior Chemistry, Gertman and Mathematics teacher at Adelaide Boys High SChool for many years, numbering among her matriculation chemistry students, Sir Marcus Oliphant and Sir Howard Florey - famous names in the world of Science.

EB Heyne's family - Laura (wife), Laura(daughter),Ida, Carl(seated), Johanne Hanckel (EB's mother -in-Law) and  Agnes.

The children of Ernst and Laura. Laura, Wilhelmine (wife of Carl), Carl, Agnes and Ida.

My grandfather Carl was a very early graduate of Roseworthy College and was a well known nurseryman and horticulturalist in Adelaide. The nursery he established in Norwood is still owned by his grandsons. He was also well known for his weekly gardening column in the Sunday Mail. Carl married my grandmother Wilhelmine Carolina Dorathea(Minnie) Lehmann and they had nine children of whom my mother Laura was the third.

Carl and Wilhelmine's five oldest children. Laura(my mother), Ernst, Carl and in front Thusnelda(Nelda) and Anna.

The family lived at the William Street house, then moved to Summertown in the Adelaide Hills where my grandfather had a market garden. The children went to Uraidla Primary School where as children of German origin they were not treated kindly as we were at the time at war with Germany. My grandfather was a partner in a flower and seed shop in Adelaide but because of his German heritage was forced to leave the business such was the animosity towards anyone of German background. He was interned for a period during World War 1 for the same reason. Ironic when you think that South Australia owes so much of its history, heritage and culture to the German migrants of the 1800s.

In the late 1920s Carl moved from Summertown and established his nursery at Norwood where it still is today. Meanwhile my mother Laura followed in the family tradition and became a teacher as did her elder brother Ernst and sister Anna. She spent her early teaching years at Minlaton on the Yorke Peninsula and Port Lincoln then moved back to Adelaide to teach at Norwood. About this time she met my father, Austin St George Hornblower.


  1. so far , so good.

    I love your father's name . . . what a handle for a little kid to cope with at school!

  2. I am researching a cousin of the Heynes, Olga Ernst, who lived with aunts Ida and Laura for some time. I found your blog clear and informative. Robyn

  3. Liz, I just came across this. Love the pictures and a bit of history about my relatives. Can I photocopy this for my own records of the family?

  4. What a truly fascinating family! How awful that your great grandfather was not accepted because of his German background during both wars! He contributed a lot to Australia! I love the photos and this made such interesting reading. I know your children and grandchildren will be very happy to have all this family information!