March Members Meeting

MARCH MEETING: 3 March at 7.30pm
Burnside City Uniting Church, 384 Portrush Rd Tusmore
THE SECOND SON: Leopold von der Borch

Our mother shared her knowledge of our family history with us. When she was in hospital, quite unwell, she asked us to see if my sister and I could find a photo of Leopold’s grandmother, Princess Therese Bentheim-Tecklenburg-Rheda (BTR). The photo, which had been in the family album, was lost.

So, my sister and I went in search of Therese. We contacted family, here and overseas, and archives in Germany. Finally, we found the original painting, in the attic of the present-day Prince of BTR who was renovating his home.

We also discovered 500 pages of letters, written in Gothic German, and written by Leopold and his brother, Alhard. We found someone at a local library who was able to translate the letters for us. A year later, after many pots of tea and citrus tarts, we discovered so much about Leopold’s life in Australia.

Leopold, an aristocrat, came over to Australia in 1868, before the Suez Canal was completed, and which added weeks more on to his trip. He arrived in Port Adelaide, when barrels floated in the river with containers of linseed oil, lit to show the way. The same year when the lighthouse was erected.

With £5 in his pocket, and before a small allowance from home was sent to him, he went to work in the copper mines in Kapunda where people worked hard, including children, and lives were lost. Where people ate Cornish pasties and tossed the ends of the pasties into the mines believing by doing so, the Knockers (spirits) would warn them of any collapses in the mines.

Leopold became a Police Trooper in 1870, and in 1873 sailed to Palmerston (Darwin) taking 3 weeks to arrive. At that time, white settlement was only 4 years old. The Todd telegraph line had been put down and gold had been discovered. A land of crocodiles, Yellow Fever and quicksand took lives. Where the walk to the well was a mile over rocky ground.

He got yellow fever and returned to Adelaide where he became the first official Police Photographer, a detective and interpreter on murder cases.

He married and had 13 children. He lived in Gumeracha, Chain of Ponds and Kensington.

About the speaker: Diana has worked in the disability area since her 20’s. She has written for children’s television, workshopped a couple of episodes of A Country Practice, contributed to a book on people living with disabilities. She is currently working as an Art Therapist, Counsellor and an Assessor looking at the level of support people with disabilities need. She is interested in art, photography, especially the sea, and travelling, spending time with family and visiting family in Germany.