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Click here to view the TOPPERWIEN Family Tree,
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Topperwien background History
Heinrich & Dorothea TOPPERWIEN

The connection between the NEWMAN family and the TOPPERWIEN family was made when Dina NEWMAN married Eldon FOX whose mother was Ivy May TOPPERWIEN.

Born 18th July 1860 - died ?
Maria Barden Jane TOPPERWIEN,née BAKER
Born 7th October 1860
Married 17th March 1886
Died 27th April 1900

August Carl Topperwien was the fourth son and fifth child of Heinrich Philipp and Dorothea Topperwien, nee Bremmer who emigrated to Australia from Lanau, Germany. Heinrich was a carpenter but he came from a long line of master charcoal burners in the Harz mountains of Germany. Heinrich Philipp and Dorothea departed from Hamburg, Germany, on 2nd May 1849 on the Australia under Captain W H Sleebohm. They sailed first to Rio de Janeiro, where they landed on 23rd July 1849 and arrived at Port Adelaide on Wednesday, 12th September 1849. After spending a short time in Adelaide where Heinrich worked on some panelling in a bank, the couple set off for Redruth. Heinrich Philipp and Dorothea walked alongside their German wagon, which carried Heinrich Philipp's carpenter's bench, his tools and their furniture, from Adelaide to Redruth, part of the copper mining town of Burra. They travelled between three and ten miles per day over poor tracks, often being forced to cross streams without the aid of bridges. Heinrich Philipp and Dorothea had eight children. They were Albert Ernst (1850), Earnest August (1852), Ida Caroline Henrietta (1856), Adolph Gustave (1858), August Carl (1860), Fredericka Augusta Juliana (1862), Frederick August (1864), Ita Juliana (1866).

August Carl Topperwien Maria Barden Jane Topperwien, née Baker

August Carl and Maria Topperwien were the parents of Ivy May Topperwien and grandparents of Eldon, Joan, Margaret, Howard, Colin, Ivan and Claire Fox. They had two other children, Pearl, born 15th July 1886 and Alma, born in 1891 in Broken Hill, NSW, Australia. August Carl's wife, Maria, died aged 39 from cancer and August Carl looked after Alma, who was very ill, with the help of Marian Dowden, the sister of Maria's brother-in-law, Charles Dowden. Alma was nicknamed "Tiny" but was usually called "Amy". She was born prematurely and weighed only 2 lbs at birth. She was probably named after the town of Alma, one of two townships making up Broken Hill. Pearl and Ivy May were looked after by relatives while August Carl took care of Amy.

August Carl was a very keen photographer and left behind him a large collection of special cameras which we had at the house in Wynnstay Road, Armadale, Victoria but I don't know what happened to them later. He was very fond of trees and planted trees by the roadside at Redruth and hand-watered them. He also invented a system of shorthand.

August Carl seems to have had a strong civic consciousness and was elected as an Independent Alderman for the Burke Ward of the city of Broken Hill, NSW for 1890-1891. In February 1892 he was elected by the council as Mayor. He served in that position for a year, receiving an annual allowance of £250. He was the 5th Mayor of Broken Hill and presided over the local government during the difficult year of 1892. He was elected at a Council meeting held on 11th February 1892. That year there was a severe water shortage. The council unsuccessfully petitioned the N.S.W. Government to construct a railway line between Broken Hill and Menindee so that water could be brought to Broken Hill. The water shortage was finally relieved by rain in May. However in the Minutes of the Council on 2nd June 1892 The Mayor thanks "The Colonial Secretary, and Government of New south Wales, the Honourable the Colonial Secretary and Government of New South Wales, the Honourable Premier and Government of South Australia, the Railway Commissioners of South Australia, the Traffic Superintendent of South Australia, (Northern line of Railways), the Directors and Manager of the Silverton Tramway Co. and J W Cann Esquire M L A for the aid and assistance so freely given to the people in the Relief Water supply." Also in that year many cases of typhoid fever were occurring and it was the year of the "Big Strike". Silver and lead prices fell, so mining conditions became harsher as mining companies re-introduced contract mining, the effect of which was to reduce the wages of the miners and so 6000 unionists went on strike.

The Aldermen of Broken Hill, 1892.
August Carl Topperwien, Mayor, is in the centre.

In July 1892 August Carl presided over two meetings of businessmen and clergy which carried resolutions of protest to the mine owners (including the Broken Hill Proprietary Company) at their breach of a written promise not to reduce wages. These resolutions were telegraphed to the directors "praying in the interests of fairplay and decency for a conference with the men." (see "The Industrial History of Broken Hill" by George Dale, 1918, page 34).

When the miners went on strike the companies, intent on reopening the mines with scab labour, convinced the New South Wales government to send 1,000 police and a special magistrate to Broken Hill to forcibly reopen the mine and encourage workers back into the mine. There were reports in the Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide newspapers of considerable disorder in Broken Hill, but August Topperwien sent the following message to each of those newspapers stating "Reports appearing in metropolitan newspapers very much exaggerated - Topperwien, Mayor."

Despite the companies' endeavours, only a handful of scab labourers were signed up to work at the mine. On 25th August 1892, a train arrived with 18 scabs and 130 police. Arrangements had been made with August Carl for the police to be billeted at the Town Hall. However, the matter of handing over the Town Hall for such a purpose was the subject of heated discussion by the Aldermen that afternoon, resulting in the police being requested to find fresh quarters, which they did. Mayor Topperwien sought a subsidy for work relief from the Under Secretary of finance:- "it is needed at the present time, owing to the labour trouble and the general want of employment ...and [the council] is much importuned to give employment to men out of work" (Solomon p 333). It would seem that August Carl was on the side of the miners. The strike continued until October 1892, when the union leaders were arrested and jailed for seditious conspiracy. However, despite the strike being officially over by Christmas that year there were still some 1,000 men were unemployed and many left town to seek work elsewhere.

August Carl Topperwien served as Mayor for one year and after that he no longer served on the Council. In 1892 he was listed as the manager of Treleaven and Brown, Carriers and Shipping agents, in Galena Street, Broken Hill.

After Amy died, August Carl went to Port Victoria where he was a Harbour Master and where he spent his last years - very much as a recluse I understand. It is thought that he changed his name to Charles W Baker ( his wife's surname) because of anti-German feeling during the First World War.

August Carl with his daughter, Ivy May FOX, née TOPPERWIEN,
his son-in-law, William FOX
and his grandchildren Eldon and Joan FOX