Looking Back

(c) National Archives of Australia  Bernhardt Otto Holtermann
  (1838 – 1885)
  born 28 April 1835 in Hamburg, Germany
  died 28 April 1885 in Sydney, 
  New South Wales, Australien

Bernhardt Holtermann had the good fortune to be one of two major shareholders in a gold mine at Hill End, New South Wales when as The Town and Country Journal reported under the headline, Hill End, Saturday, ‘Holtermann’s landed a specimen last night weighing between 6 and 7 cwt., supposed to contain 2 cwt. of gold. More in the bottom. Great excitement.’ That was the largest mass of gold ever unearthed! An even larger one followed, and more. Bernhardt was born in Hamburg in 1838. To avoid military service he set off for Australia, via Liverpool, arriving in September 1859. Working as a waiter he met a Polish fortune seeker named Ludwig Beyers and together they set off for Hill End. Wealth meant a mansion with a tower lit through a stained glass window which depicted himself and his ‘nugget’; as well it led to an association with Beaufoy Merlin and Charles Bayliss whose photographs of NSW and Victoria, thriving as a result of gold discoveries, were intended to encourage migration and remain today an invaluable record of the people and their times.

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