Victoria's German Poet
Florens Theodor Reinhard Müller was born in Dresden in 1825 and research has shown that he most likely arrived in Adelaide on the Australia on 11th September 1849. He lived in Adelaide until 1852, when he, like many others, moved to the Victorian goldfields. For a few years he searched for gold in Central Victoria and was an active member of the German Associations (Deutscher Verein) around the region. He lived in Bendigo for two years and from 1857-1861 in Maryborough. In Maryborough he was the secretary of the Deutscher Verein and around this time he began to write poems. For many years his poems appeared in Melbourne's German newspapers. In 1861 he moved from Maryborough to Castlemaine. There he and other members of the town's Deutscher Verein took part in the official opening of the Burke & Wills memorial. Müller wrote a poem about it ("Der erste Juli in Castlemaine"), in which he lamented the fact that the name of Ludwig Becker, who had died on the expedition, was not included on the memorial. In September 1862 he moved to Melbourne, where he joined the city's Deutscher Turn-Verein. He often read out poems of his at meetings of the Verein. In 1869 he returned to Dresden.
(Source: Darragh, Tom. 1994. Theodor Müller, Victoria's German Poet. In: "Bulletin, Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand". Vol. 18, pp119-143.)
Müller wrote a long poem in Maryborough in 1857 about the life of the average digger, Der Digger. Der Heimat gewidmet. This poem was very popular and appeared in Melbourne's German newspapers (1857 in Der Kosmopolit, 1859 in Deutsche Monatschrift für Australien, and 1864 in Germania). Many German former diggers identified with the feelings and experiences described in the poem. The editor of Germania wrote that he was reprinting the poem ("dieses warme Bild des australischen Diggerlebens" / "this warm picture of the life of the Australian digger") because many Germans had requested this.
Here are two original extracts from the long poem:
Der Digger tritt aus seinem Zelt
Und vor ihm liegt die schöne Welt,
Und Frieden, Frieden allerwärts,
Ist Frieden nur in seinem Herz!
Ein Dankgebet schwellt seine Brust
Und an die Arbeit geht's mit Lust. -
Da liegt vor ihm die junge Flur
Im Unschuldlächeln der Natur,
Noch unberührt von Menschenhand
Zeigt sie das blühendste Gewand.
Doch sieh! Herauf zur Frühlingsluft
Steigt jetzt der Digger aus der Gruft.
Sein Auge strahlt! es wogt die Brust!
Aus seinen Mienen lacht die Luft! -
Ein schweres Stück in seiner Hand
Zeigt, dass er das ersehnte fand;
Er wiegt es, prüft es, wäscht es rein,
Hell strahlt des Goldes Zauberschein!
(From the Melbourne newspaper Germania, 24/3/1864)
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