Naturalisation of German migrants

Naturalisation of German Migrants.

Within six months of arrival in South Australia, many of the German migrants showed a willingness to sign the oath of allegiance. As early as 24 May 1839, Queen Victoria's birthday, 123 German men took the oath. Four months later ten of these men were naturalised and were now able to buy Crown land.

Seventy-five years later at the start of World War I South Australia was home to about thirty thousand migrants of German descent. Among these many were second or third generation Australians but there were also some five thousand who were born in Germany. Throughout South Australia's short history, most German migrants had been keen to become naturalised British Subjects. Unfortunately for them it did not always mean that they were treated like British Subjects or had the same rights. Apart from all the other problems they experienced during times of war there was also the requirement that they had to transfer any shares they owned to the Government.

The War Precautions (Enemy Shareholders) Regulation of 1916, made this legal. It affected many Germans, whether Naturalised or not. H.R. Schubert, who held only five shares in an Australian Company was forced to relinquish them. Among some of the others who had to turn over their shares were Agnes Rasp, widow of Charles Rasp, Sophia Kruger, George Leunig, Johannes Paul Otto Ditter, Walter Hugo Schmidt and Auguste Carroline Vogelsang. All had to transfer their shares to the Public Trustee 'for reason that they are enemy subjects'.

Walter Hugo Schmidt, owner of five hundred shares in the Mararoa Gold Mining Company was also interned in the German Concentration Camp at Liverpool, New South Wales. More than 300 enemy aliens were interned at the Torrens Island Concentration Camp.

Auguste Carroline Vogelsang of Richmond, owner of one hundred shares in the Golden Ridge Gold Mining Company of Kalgoorlie also lost her investment. Two years after the war, and after her death, her husband tried to claim the shares back and the dividends payed on them. He was told in 1921 that he could get the money, the shares had been sold, if he could produce satisfactory evidence that he had been Naturalised and had not been interned.

The Vogelsangs had been Naturalised British Subjects since 1891!!!!

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