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Emma Schmidt’s Travelling Trunk

Object Number: R12887

This small timber trunk was brought from Germany by a 16-year-old girl Emma Schmidt, from the Black Forest town of Karlsruhe, when she emigrated to Australia in 1887. She was accompanying, as a governess, a family emigrating to Queensland.

The Museum has no record of Emma’s trip from Karlsruhe to London, where she boarded the S.S. “Orient”. This ship arrived at Sydney in August 1887. Her name appears in the passenger list as Emma Schmidt, a third-class passenger, described as a servant.

There is also no record of Emma’s trip from Sydney to Brisbane, but it is known that the father of the family for whom she worked as a governess defrauded her of the return fare to Germany that Emma’s father had entrusted to him. This left Emma forced to find work, which she did, first in Ipswich and later in Brisbane, where she worked at the German Bridge Hotel in Holland Park. There she met Johannes Holzapfel, a member of a farming family at Mount Cotton. They married in December 1894. Emma became a well-respected member of the Redland community, and mother of ten children. With the passing of time Emma was to become the grandmother of Museum Life Member, Joyce Krause, who donated the travelling trunk to the museum in 2008.