I have had the privilege of sharing Emilie’s extraordinary diary and lived experience with a number of community organisations and special interest history groups since the book’s launch in November 2021.
If you would be interested to hear about Emilie Appelt’s diary, please get in contact and we can discuss it.
14 August 2022 – St. John’s Lutheran Church, Eudunda. To celebrate 100 years since the death of Emilie Appelt.
16 August 2022 – Probus Club of the Barossa Valley. Tanunda Club, Tanunda.
12 October 2022 – South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Society (SAGHS) -Germanic and Continental European Special Interest Group. On Zoom.
21 February 2022 – Probus Club of the Barossa Valley. Vine Inn Restaurant, Nuriootpa.
24 February 2022 – Friends of the Lutheran Archives. Immanuel Lutheran Church, Archer Street, North Adelaide.
28 February 2022 – Barossa German Language Association Inc . Kaffee und Kuchen. Langmeil Centre, Tanunda.
17 March 2022 – Lions Club of the Barossa Valley. Vine Inn Restaurant, Nuriootpa.
1 May 2022 – Barossa History Fair. Angaston Town Hall, Angaston.
While researching the background to Emilie’s diary, and piecing together the multitudinous strands of her life, an extraordinary document, written in 1880, was discovered. Although its existence was known within family circles, few others knew of it.
The letter was written by Pastor Ernst David Appelt, a Lutheran pioneer in South Australia with an extraordinary story. He was born on 31 December 1810 in Margonin, Germany (now Poland) during the time when, it was later quipped, “Napoleon I, hungry for land, still cast his scourge over Germany.” During his youth he attended school, became an accomplished weaver of fine cloth, and played the violin.
He studied at the Dresden Mission Seminary, graduating in 1839, whereafter he served as a missionary of the Leipzig Mission Society in India from 1843. While actively serving, he became proficient in Tamil, Portuguese, and English. It was during his service in India, in 1853, that Friedrich Appelt, the future husband of Emilie Appelt, was born in Tranquebar (Tharangambadi).
It appears Ernst found the work harder than anticipated. Despite the willingness of the local Tamil people to convert to Christianity, fights erupted as the locals wanted to retain the Hindu caste system following conversion. This was in contravention to Christian doctrine, which maintains that all are equal in the eyes of Christ. He soon returned to Germany.
Following his return to Germany, Ernst took up a pastorate in Glogau (Głogów). In 1861, he embarked to Australia, where he was designated to work in Walkdkirch, Victoria. However, he was sent to South Australia after it was decided that Pastor J.F. Meischel could not provide pastoral services to both Adelaide and the Barossa Valley. On 1 December 1861, Pastor Appelt was installed as pastor of the Neukirch and Gnadenberg congregations.
By 1880, Pastor Appelt’s ministry had expanded to encompass congregations as far apart as Gnadenberg (near Moculta) and Emu Downs (north of Eudunda). The account he wrote captures the division between Lutheran synods in the 1880s and expresses hope for future unity. He captures the frosty relationship between two pastors in Eudunda through a delightfully related incident that occurred between Eudunda and Dutton.
May our dear God, in his infinite mercy, permit this document to remain hidden until a happier and a wiser day. But gather around, dear children of God, and hear my lecture for this day, December 17, 1880.
You will know that all Lutheran pastors of whatever synod love each dearly. So it is with me and my dear brother in Christ in Eudunda. Of course, we have never met and shook hands, but these factors are entirely beyond our control.
We are often in Eudunda on the same day, being market day and catch sight of each other. However, the spirit reminds us that I have business in Leditsche’s while my brother has business in the bank. Sometimes God directs me to the bank, and my brother to the bakery to get a new supply of currants. So it is that we have often seen each other but then, by circumstances have had to cross the other side. The holy angels of God have not yet caused us to collide when walking the same street, but, such is the infinite mercy of our heavenly Father. But be sure we love each other dearly.
My sulky is a sturdy carriage and takes me from place to place, as long as I remember to harness a horse into ot. My dear, dear Brother has a buggy, but being a little more frail, surely God approves of his parish buying an enclosed carriage for him. Truly, God is a wonderful carer for his servants.
We sometimes seem to have passed each other on the Dutton-Eudunda road. Sadly at such times I have been selecting my Hymns, while my brother has been studying his sermon. Of course, at times I may have been studying my sermon while he has been revising his catechumens’ lessons. So you in you [sic] loving wisdom will understand that even on that lonely road we have not been able to raise hats to each other. Of course, it is natural that we should have done so had we observed each other.
Now I must write of a most recent experience. The deep creek is very narrow at its base and allows for only one conveyance to pass through at one time. Under the guidance of our loving God I found myself on the east bank of the creek at precisely the time my dear brother found himself in his buggy at the west bank. You will understand that it would have been foolishness for me to stop my sulky from descending the creek bed. Our God is all for teaching us to look upwards. My brother almost certainly was praying for fine weather and a good meal, so quite naturally he did not notice me some fifty yards away. You lay people have no comprehension of the pressures on pastors to let their requests be known to our loving God.
Ans so, surely according to the guidance of him whose wisdom is mightier than that of man or horse, we both descended on the one way track with the sharp bend right in the bottom of the creek. No Christian would have risked taking a little turn to the side. And lo and behold, having noted the proximity of each other after longing to meet for so many years, the shaft of my brother’s excellent buggy caught in the keeper of the shaft to my humble sulky.
In a crisis like this there is no time for words, and even grunts do not seem to express the situation explicitly. But with a flash of wisdom from above I found myself saying ‘Sollen wir umspannen’ (Shall we unhitch). Surely neither Luther nor Turk would have wanted the shaft of the buggy broken, but we did not think of calling on them. My brother, who strangely decided to bring religion into a material matter answered: ‘Am besten wir beten’ (Better we pray!).
May God forgive our sin in praying together, but we did pray a few words, unhitched the horses, proceeded to the west bank together and shared our simple fair. Gurken (probably pickled cucumbers) dry mutton and beautiful home bread may not make a sacramental meal, but I believe, in spite of all our best efforts to meet on other occaisons, God chose this place and this covenant meal to bring about a friendship which has remained, although we are too confessional to let this be known.
May you who read this in God’s golden hour never work to have business preventing you from meeting fellow pastors. It is my conviction that in the next hundred years, both horses and God’s imperfect saints will be in the same synod. And may we share our Gurken and mutton and bread together in that place of forgiveness and grace.
Though the contents of Ernst’s letter are in themselves extraordinary, the circumstances of the letter’s discovery heighten this. The letter was discovered in 1961, five years before the momentous amalgamation of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Australia (UELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Australia (ELCA) to form the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) in 1966. Such timing is down to chance, or sheer luck, though one cannot help but feel inclined to believe divine intervention played a role.
The letter was discovered and translated by Pastor Ivan Wittwer. According to Pastor Wittwer, he was attempting to locate a photograph of Pastor Ernst Appelt. After having no luck after contacting both Lutheran synods, he approached a Mr. Bode, who was the Council Clerk at Truro at the time. Pastor Wittwer assumed Mr. Bode was the owner of an abandoned Appelt-Bode residence, which served as the manse in Dutton. After searching the former manse, he discovered the photo of Pastor Ernst Appelt, preserved in a fine frame, with packing paper behind it. In amongst those papers, he discovered the above letter.
Of the letter’s translation, he wrote, “With my best efforts I have been unable to recapture the whimsy in Pastor Appelt’s German, but all the substance is there. It is brilliant in the original.”
Friedrich Gotthelf Ernst Appelt’s private library.
In the early 1930s, due to financial difficulties caused by the depression years, Friedrich Appelt was forced to sell books from his private library. He offered many of them to the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Australia, the strand of Lutheranism Friedrich belonged to, and one of a number of Lutheran synods in Australia at that time.
To prepare the books for sale, he made a detailed list of the title of each edition and its asking price. We do not know the extent of his library, or indeed what proportion of his library was put up for sale and how much was left intact.
Despite these unknowns, the meticulous, type-written list recorded by Friedrich gives us an unparalleled view into the intellectual sensibilities and curiosities of Friedrich, and possibly his wife and family, as well as the professional manuals and guidebooks necessary for the pursuit of business at the Appelt General Store in Eudunda.
It must be stressed, of course, that the date of acquisition for many of the editions is unknown; some may have only been acquired by Friedrich following Emilie’s death in 1922, thereby limiting the applicability of the list with the aim to become more familiar with Emilie.
The list went as follows:
Mr F.G.E. Appelt of Eudunda has presented his library to Synod. The books are herewith offered for sale at the prices indicated. Please send orders to Rev. F. Hassold. Eudunda. S.A.
Prices do not include postage or freight.
Farmers’ Encycl. for Farm and Home (German) 1/6
English-Tamil Dictionary 2/6
Dictionary, Talkers (pronouncing) 1/
Bible – German (damaged) 6d
Lobstein, Taegliche Andachten (damaged) 1
Kiez(?), Goldkoerner und Perlen 6d
Thorpe, Textbook of Science Quantit. Chem. Anal. 1/
Collins, Inorganic Chemistry 6d
Hach’s Botany 6d
British Pharmocopaea 3 vols @ 6d 1/6
Habermans Gebete 6d
Fundamentals – 7 copies @ 3d 1/9
Beleuchtung Dr. Schneiders Broschuere 9d
Huebner – Breslau und Missouri 2/
Zorn, Die Vergebung der Suenden 9
Macauley, Lays of Ancient Rome 6d
Paul Gerhardt, Vier Leichenpredigten 9d
Walther, Rechte Gestalt 2/6
Gebetbuecher, Luthers und andere 3/6
Reiseharfe mit Noten 9d
Geschichte der Deutsch-franzoesisches Krieges 6d
Bunyan, Der Heiligen Krieg 1/6
Homeopathic Treatment of Infants 1/
Veterinary Counter Practice 1/
Keuster Bienenfreund 6d
Elementary Dispensing Practice by Ince 2/
The Prospector’s Pocketbook by G.A. Goyder 6d
Enquire Within upon Everything 6d
Sir Harry Rarlsleigh(?) vols I to III 1/6
Gottes Wort – Andachten von Scriver 3/6
Koch – Law und Gospel 3/
Petri – Der Glaube 2/
Der Deklamator – German and English 1/
Ehrendenkmal Treuer Zeugen Christi vols 1-3 12/
Christliche Kreuzschule – Andachten (Wudrian) 4/
Dallmann – Battle of the Bible with the Bibles 3/
Deklamierbuch – Gustmann(?) 2/6
Gerhards Betrachtungen 3/
Schachspiel – Dufresne 2/
Kleiner Gebetsschatz(?) 6d
Palmenzweige 2 @ 3d 6d
Lueckes, Der Burgerkrieg der Vereinigten Staaten 3/6
Kronprinz Wilhelms Erinnerungen 2/6
Weseloh – Herrlichkeit Gottes in der Natur 3/
Urquhart, Die Neuen Entdeckungen u. die Bibel
5 Baende £1
Goldkoener – Walther(?) Predigten 3/
Geistliche Gebetopfer – Kirch und Hausandachten 1/6
Die Silberne Kette (??) Hel.Hubner 3/
Fritz Reuter Bd. 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 @ 1/- 5/
Schillers Werke 6 Bde 24/-
Blumenlese dere Neueren Literatur-Tanunda Zeitung 1/
Gott Segne Dich – Gedichtssammlung, Crull 3/6
Koehler – Englishe – deutsches Woerterbuch 9/6
Pieper – Kraft des Evangeliums 3d
Lessings Werke 3/6
Richter – Die Evangelischen Missionen 5/
Das Deutsche Liederlexikon – Haertel 7/6
The Leisure Hour 5/
Graebner – Geschichte der Lutherischen Kirche
Altenburger Bibelwerk A.T. 2 Bde @ £1 £2
N.T. 2 Bde (beschaedigt) 2 B. £1-(?)
Bogatzky – Taegliches Hausbuch (Andachten) 2 B. 15/
Zorn – Taeglichen Andachten (beschaedigt) 2/
Zorn – Brosamlein 10/6
Family Bible 7/6
Hundert – Memorable Years in America 2/6
Zorn – Der Heiland 7/6
Walther Hausandachten 2 Bde @ 13/6 27/-
Walther Postille (Epistel) 18/
Jeremias Gotthelfs Ausgewaehlte Werke 4/
Frommels Erzaehlungen 2/
Peters – Geheime Gesellschaften 14 Stueck @ 6d 5/
Willkomms Halte Was Du Hast 4 Stueck @ 6d 2/
Der Chiliasmus 5 Stueck @ 1/3 6/3
Zagels Allerlei 4 Stueck @ 1/ 4/
Moore – Veterinary Homeopathy 1/6
Druggist’s General Receipt Book 6d
For King and Fatherland – Episodes 3d
Magistrate’s Guide 6d
Nelson’s Home Comforts 6d
Hermannsburger Missionsblatt (1872, 77, 79) for 1/9
(The insertion of a ‘?’ indicates a character indeterminable from the primary source.)
It is entirely plausible, that Emilie read the works of Friedrich Schiller and Gotthold Lessing, two giants of eighteenth-century German literature. She may also have read works by Fritz Reuter, a north-German novelist from the nineteenth century.
The ‘Appelt Library’ demonstrates a strong connection to Lutheranism, indeed, much of the literature listed above is theological in nature. For example, the library includes works from evangelical German theologian Julius Richter (1862-1940), and Rev. Dr. Carl Manthey Zorn (1846-1928), as well as as books explaining the Bible, providing daily prayer and devotion, and exploring God’s presence in nature and law.
One book by Jean Dufresne called Schachspiel (‘A Game of Chess’) proves Friedrich’s love of chess. Another by Thomas Babington Macaulay, called Lays of Ancient Rome, suggests an interest in Romantic poetry with classical overtones. The book Magistrates Guide reminds us of Friedrich’s role as a local magistrate and Justice of the Peace, while the various titles pertaining to homeopathy, chemistry, and the manufacture of medicine, remind us of the business he ran in Eudunda.
The list of books sold by Friedrich Appelt allows us to pull aside the veil of historical obscurity and understand his leisurely curiosities, his professional obligations, his deeply spiritual journey, and, quite possibly, that of Emilie too.
The following is an index of surnames that appear throughout Emilie’s diary. Emilie tends to refer to individuals by their surname more than their first name. She even refers to individuals by their profession – Teacher Eckermann, Missionary Kuchel, Pastor Nickel, Student Backen – making it very difficult to construct an index of full names.
Some of the names may have been misspelt in transcription, or misspelt by Emilie herself. To increase the historical value of this list, names that may be misspelt are included for ease of access to the text.