Tambo Upper

abt 1900


abt 1905

The Rawson & Redenbach Families

Out of Gippsland

The Redenbach Boys from Bavaria

The first Redenbach in my records is Christoph Peter Redenbach who I suspect lived at or near Hinzweiler in Germany.  Hinzweiler is in Bavaria, Germany, and not too far from the border with France.  Christoph married Elizabetha Katherina Jung and they had four boys, Jacob, Daniel, Phillip and Karl (known as Charles from here on), all of whom arrived in Australia in 1855 on the Champion of the Seas out of Liverpool (see below).  It looks likely the boys had a sister (Karolina b 1836) who did not come to Australia.  There is some thought the boys were escaping from the possibility of being conscripted for service in the Prussian War.

Once here they went looking for gold, and it seems that they spent about 20 years searching in places as far apart as Western Australia, southern NSW and Omeo and Cassilis, where they were probably mining at the time of their applications as Swifts Creek is mentioned in their naturalisation documentation.  Charles' application for naturalisation indicates he probably also spent some time in New Zealand (the relevant part of the document is not easy to decipher).

Naturalisation records for Phillip, Charles and Jacob are immediately accessible (as at 2 August 2012) from National Archives of Australia, and all three became British citizens in 1875.  Interestingly, all three give slightly different dates for their arrival in the Colony of Victoria in their applications to become British citizens.  It is likely that Daniel became a British citizen about the same time.   A copy of Jacob's application is here.

In 1875, Jacob and Daniel selected land at Tambo Upper in Victoria, while Phillip obtained land on the Mitchell River at Eagle Point and Charles at Wy Yung.  Jacob Redenbach settled on a property he called Rheinhoff and married Alexina Geraldine Boyd in 1878.  The property stayed in the family’s hands until the 1990’s.  Brother Daniel owned the property immediately to the north.

After arriving in Gippsland the four brothers formed a band which “played at many public gatherings”,and the following quote comes from an internet site concerning the links between the Nethercote and Redenbach families.

“The first recorded band in the history of Bairnsdale was a brass band.  It was called ‘Redenbach's German Brass Band’ led by Phillip Redenbach, a hop grower who lived in Bairnsdale.  In the 1870's and the 1880's Redenbach's band became very popular, performing at many functions around the district.  Every New Year's Day the band marched around the then Friendly Societies Ground which is now known as West Bairnsdale Football Oval.”

Jacob and Alexina had eight children with Adolph Redenbach being born in 1887.  Adolph married Francis Lilburn Commins on 29 July 1914 and they had three boys before Francis died in July 1924, just two years after her last son, Raymond Frederick Redenbach (Fred) was born on 20 July 1922.  Fred married Jean Alice Wilton on 24 November 1945.

Here are some more notes about the Redenbach family.

There was a Redenbach reunion in Bairnsdale in 1988, and a newspaper record of the reunion is available.

A photograph of the "Bairnsdale Pioneers 1910" held by Monash University shows Jacob and Daniel Redenbach and their wives, and many other residents of the district at that time.

Champion of the Seas

"Champion of the Seas was the second large clipper ship destined for the Liverpool, England - Melbourne, Australia passenger service. Champion was ordered by James Baines of the Black Ball Line from Donald McKay. She was launched 19 April 1854 and was abandoned 3 January 1877, off Cape Horn.

Champion of the Seas set a record for the fastest day's run in 24 hours: 465 nautical miles (861 km) noon to noon 10-11 December 1854 under the command of Captain Alexander Newlands. This record stood until August 1984, nearly 130 years."

The information above comes from Wikipedia, which also indicates that this ship came to Melbourne only once in 1855.  If the four Redenbach brothers were on the ship, and disembarked in Melbourne, there is no record of their journey in the data held by the Public Records Office of Victoria.

Christoph Peter Redenbach (b 1795)

The first Redenbach in my records is Christoph Peter Redenbach, whom I suspect lived at or near Hinzweiler in Germany.  Hinzweiler is in southwest Germany, and not too far from the border with France. Christoph married Elizabetha Katherina Jung and they had four boys, Jacob (b 1838)DanielPhillip and Karl (Charles in Australia?), all of whom arrived in Australia in 1855 on the Champion of the Seas. For a long time I believed the boys were the only family of Christoph and Elizabetha, but it now looks likely they had a sister (Karolina b 1836) who did not come to Australia. There is some thought the boys were escaping from the possibility of being conscripted for service in the Prussian War. 

Adolph Redenbach (b abt 1887) 

Adolph was the fourth of the eight children of Jacob Redenbach and Alexander Geraldine Boyd.

He married Frances Lilburn (b 1888)in July 1914, but unfortunately she died during the birth of what would have been their fourth child.

Following the death of Frances it was her sister, Dorothy Commins, who took over the role of "mother" for the family.


Dorothy Commins

Adolph Redenbach

Frances Lilburn Commins


Jacob Redenbach (b 1838) 

In 1855 the four brothers (Phillip, Karl, Jacob and Daniel) arrived in Australia from Bavaria in Germany and all of them finally settled in the Bairnsdale area.
Jacob and Daniel selected land at Tambo Upper, north of Swan Reach in East Gippsland, and Jacob called his property Rheinhoff. The property stayed in family hands until about 2004.
Jacob married Alexina Geraldine Boyd in 1878, and they had eight children.  Alexina was the second child of John Boyd and Isabella Reid. Her sister, Mary Elizabeth Boyd married one of Jacob's brothers, Daniel, during the next year.
A copy of Jacob's Will, and an obituary from a local newspaper may be of interest. More information about Phillip, Karl, Daniel and Karolina is on this page.

Alexina Geraldine Boyd


Jacob Redenbach

Paula Jean Redenbach (Rawson)
in front of Rheinhoff in 2004.



The only photo I have of Jacob's family (apologies for the poor quality) was taken at Rheinhoff in 1905, and it is probably from "The Tambo Shire Centenary History” by John David Adams, and published by the Tambo Shire Council in 1981.


Raymond Frederick Redenbach (b 1922) 

Raymond Frederick Redenbach (Fred) was the third child of Adolph Redenbach and Frances Lilburn Commins, born 20 July 1922 in North Carlton.  He married Jean Alice Wilton in late 1945 and they had three children, Paula, John and Glenn.

Fred prepared two lots of notes about his life, the first in 1993 and the last in 2004.  He also, being a very keen Carlton supporter, has listed his ten best ever Carlton players.

His notes begin below.

2004 Notes

"Grandfather Jacob and three brothers arrived from Germany in 1865. I understand they were aged in their teens to early twenties and unaccompanied. They prospected for gold from Western Australia to Omeo (Cassilis) and southern NSW. Jacob and brother Daniel, who had married sisters (the Boyd sisters), took up farming land in their own right adjacent the Tambo River at Upper Tambo in Victoria.

They selected this land in 1875, prior to marriage in 1878. Both marriages resulted in families of eight children, and each family comprised four boys and four girls. Jacob named his farm "Rheinhoff". He is recorded as having worked very hard for the community. The four brothers were talented musicians and formed the first band in Bairnsdale.

Grandfather Commins was a successful barrister and solicitor in Bairnsdale. He raced several racehorses in the area. He lived on a farming property, with grandmother, called Emerald Hill and they also owned an adjacent property called Mern. My memory of the area is limited, but I recall my father putting me on a train to Bairnsdale where I was picked up and driven to Emerald Hill in a horse drawn jinker. The train trip started in Melbourne as we now lived at Jolimont adjacent to the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The few memories of my trip to my grandparents were of the hundreds of rabbitsalong the road (Sandy Lane) from Bairnsdale to Emerald Hill. They covered the lane on approach, moved off until we passed by, and then moved back again. The roadside was covered in bracken fern so I presume there was a picking of grass on the road. Another memory of this visit was learning to ride the farm pony called Pasha and having to hold a racehorse by a halter whilst he grazed on the lawn. Being a lively horse he promptly stomped on my foot – I was in agony for many days. Not very exciting memories but as I was only six years old they are things still in my memory some 70+ years on.


Continue reading.....


Raymond Frederick Redenbach