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Romanticism, Culture and Migration

Aspects of nineteenth-century German migration to Australia after German Unification- A case study of the diary and life of Adolph Würfel 1854-1914

Kathrine Reynolds

This work provides an understanding of the large worldwide migrations of the German-speaking people from the seventeenth to twenty-first century. By examining cultural aspects of the German-speaking diaspora such as art, music, literature, and work practices, a complex case is presented to understand wanderlust as it exists in the German mind, and its capacity to stimulate migration. The work also investigates the transfer of culture from the country of origin to the settler culture through the migrant and demonstrates the positive benefits of migration and the subtlety of cross-cultural transfer.
The study uses the diary of Adolph Würfel to provide a detailed insight into the mind of one individual, his education and the culture he brings with him from Europe to his new country, Australia, in 1876. It shows in detail, with concrete examples, how the transfer of culture occurs between the confines of Würfel’s own life and his new country over a forty-year period.


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Introduction 9


9Introduction Human beings are steeped in the culture of their home country but when they migrate they must leave this culture behind as they adapt their perception of it in themselves to life in a new country and adopt aspects of their new culture. In some cases, they add parts of their old culture to their new country and so the process of cultural transfer is affected.1 In Australia, there are many aspects of this cultural transference in the nineteenth century whereby the newly-arrived emigrants, in their work practices, and in their personal lives, brought cultural mores that fused with aspects of the predominantly British culture. The diary of Adolph Würfel, printed herein, provides an excellent example of the ideas driving emigration and the pictures Würfel possessed of Europe and Britain, reveal how great this cultural transfer was. When he came to Australia as an unassisted immigrant, he was a well-educated young man of 22 years, who could speak Italian, French, English and German, and emigrated in 1876, perceiving his travels as an adventure. At the beginning of his diary, Würfel quotes Schiller’s Maid of Orleans where the author waxes lyrical about Joan wandering away from home. Würfel 1 This is evident with the German-speaking migrants to the Barossa Valley in South Australia in the nineteenth century who brought with them their language, their music clubs, their religion (Lutheran), laid out their villages according to their old German mores and built houses in “the half-timbered style...

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