top of page

The Ohlmeyers of Clare

The Ohlmeyers of Clare


J. W. (Will) Ohlmeyer was twice mayor of Clare prior to two World Wars (in 1914-15 and for the second time in 1937--1939).

Both he and his brother Albert, in Tanunda, were Jewellers, trained in Adelaide, and both were also car enthusiasts.

  • One son, Jim, was captured by the Japanese in Malaya, and survived.

  • The other son Jack, died in a pilot training accident in NSW.

  • His daughter Lucy was a librarian, Guides leader, and later was a shopkeeper, a prominent and responsible Clare citizen, and President of the National Trust of Clare.

The family of Ohlmeyer (of Clare), through its progenitors, dates back to the family of Mr. and Mrs. James Hill, who occupied and entertained at Inchiquin in earlier days of the Town, Mrs. Ohlmeyer being a daughter of the Hills of the House of Inchiquin, Clare.

Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Ohlmeyer was born on 8 Jun 1869, at Adelaide, SA, however he anglicised his name to John Henry William Oldmeyer, but was usually referred to as just 'J.W.'.  His wedding notice below uses 'William':


J.W. married Mary Adelaide Lucy HILL, of Inchiquin, born around 1877, the marriage announced on Sat 13 Jul 1907 in the Chronicle (Adelaide, SA)

On the 26th June 1907, at the residence of the bride's parents, by the Rev. J. M. Sands, B.A., William, youngest son of W. A. Ohlmeyer, Tanunda, to Mary, eldest daughter of James Hill, Inchiquin, Clare.
At home July 15th to 25th."

The family of J.W. Ohlmeyer and wife Mary, were:

  1. A daughter born 2 June 1908 at "Bullamon", Clare (Lucy)

  2. A daughter born 2 March 1910 at Bullamon, Clare (Nora Mary)

  3. A daughter born on June 21st. 1912 at "Bullamon", Clare, (Ada)

  4. A son on the 1st October 1914, at "Bullamon", Clare, (Jim)

  5. A son on the 11th September 1918, at St Margaret's Private Hospital, Clare (Jack)


The family were known as

J.W. Ohlmeyer, twice mayor of Clare.jpg

Below: 'Bullamon' the home of J W Ohlmeyer and family,

 9 William Street Clare SA

Ohlmeyer home Bullamon, in 9 William Str

J.W. was the son of

Wilhelm Anton OHLMEYER
Full Family Tree below

Born 23 Oct 1829, Hamburg, Germany 57419

Arrived 1 Mar 1850, ‘Pribislaw’ 57420 Age: 20

Death 26 Jun 1912, Tanunda, SA 57421,57419 Age: 82

GrandFather: Johann Gabriel Martin OHLMEYER, (ca1800-1880)

GrandMother Wilhelmine (ca1802-)

J.W.'s Mother was Charlotte Dorothea Friederike GROVERMANN

Born ca 1835 Immigrated on 31 Mar 1848, ‘Pauline’ 22715 Age: 13

Died 8 Nov 1879, Tanunda, SA 57422 Age: 44

GrandFather GROVERMANN, Alexander Friedrich Arnold (ca 1807 -1869)

GrandMother Dora Johanne (ca1806- )

Who were Married on 10 May 1855, Adelaide, SA 57423

It is apparent that the mother of the three Ohlmeyer sons (see below) died (in 1879) when her youngest son William, was only 10 years old, possibly leaving them in the care of their mother's sister, Louise GROVERMANN, who was later to become their step-mother.

It is more likely that they were taken in by their aunt Johanna Marie Ohlmeyer, who had first married Hermann KOEPPEN in 1852 after he had successfully returned from the Gold Diggings in Victoria.

Hermann famously first saw Johanna Oldmeyer in an Adelaide street, and subsequently corresponded with her. He had died in 1868 leaving her with three children. (Read his letters from the diggings in 1851)

These children were teenagers when on Christmas Day, 25 Dec 1869 she married the now famous Jeweller Joachim Wendt, who was an old friend of Hermann Koeppen.

As Mrs Wendt, Johanna Marie had another four children, and in this mixed household it is possible the motherless Ohlmeyer children found their home as well, and also their training as Jewellers in the esteemed business of Wendt's Jewellers, appointed Jewellers to the Duke of Edinburgh.

1914 Requestion to JW Ohlmeyer as Mayor

Above: 1904 Ohlmeyer from Tanunda

Read More:

Motor Museum Memories

November 20, 2015

Jon Chittleborough

The Jewellery business of J.W. Ohlmeyer in Clare was founded in 1898.

In the middle of 1904, J.W. Ohlmeyer, Watchmaker and Jeweller in Clare, took a bold step:

  • he had the building next door to his store fitted out as a bicycle repairing depot.

  • In addition to using his "thoroughly up to date plant" to make repairs to any make of machine,

  • he took on an agency for the bicycles and motors of the Lewis Cycle and Motor Works, "types of which he (had) in stock" in October 1904.


Although the decision to mix jewellery and motorcycles might seem a little odd, J.W. (Will) Ohlmeyer and his brother Albert (also a watchmaker and jeweller, but based in Tanunda) were no strangers to motorised propulsion, having been pioneers in the mid-north region on their very early Minerva-powered Lewis motorcycles.

  • The brothers were the first country members of the Automobile and Motor Cycle Club of South Australia when it formed in 1903.

  • Albert built his own car, the 'Jigger' now in the SA Motor Museum.

Illustrated Below:

Ernst Ohlmeyer 98, seated in the Jigger built by his father, with Premier John Olsen, 1998


Illustrated below:

In September 1910, Vivian Lewis Limited purchased the Ohlmeyer Cycke business in Clare. The timing coincided with the acquisition of the W.J. Richards motor business in near-by Burra, and followed on the heels of the move of their main operations to the new premises in Gawler Place South in Adelaide. Clearly these were times of expansion.

The two shops on the right are likely the 1904 Ohlmeyer shops, but if so the verandas and facades have been modernised.

Ohlmeyer business in Clare-edited

Above: Former Ohlmeyer business in Clare 1914 with former Ohlmeyer Cycle shops bought out by Vivian Lewis Limited of Adelaide


Northern Argus (Clare, SA) Fri 5 Apr 1940 Page 3 J. W. OHLMEYER


The success of Mr. J. W. Ohlmeyer as an up-to-date jeweller and watch

specialist is a direct tribute to his rare judgment in selecting jewellery and

timepieces noted for their craftsmanship and artistry of pattern, yet pricing

them within the reach of all.

  • His establishment, situated in Main Street Clare, which has been conducted by him for nearly forty years, carries a splendid stock of specially selected articles which anyone would be proud to own.

J W (Will) Ohlmeyer of Clare
Jewellers' shop robbed 7 Aug 1909.jpg
  • Whether you are selecting something for a wedding, birthday, or other occasion, you will find that when you make your choice here, you will be selecting a gift that will give pleasure for years to come.


No one need be at a loss to know just what to give for a gift, for here one can find articles that are distinctive and of intrinsic value.

  • For the house there are beautiful specimens of fine hand-cut crystal tea and coffee sets, sandwich trays, glass-ware, pottery and vases,

  • for more personal gifts for both ladies and gentlemen, there is an infinite variety from dressing cases to watches.

  • The stock of wedding and engagement rings is unsurpassed, and if you have been lucky enough to find the right, girl, you will be well advised to follow it up by purchasing one of Mr. Ohlmeyer's engagement rings, which contain best quality diamonds in the very latest designs.

Writlet Watches 3 Sept 1937.jpg
Electric Clock installed 20 May 1910.jpg
J W Ohlmeyer Birthday Presents Advert 5
Local Coin proved a fake by J W Ohlmeyer
J.W. Ohlmeyer, twice mayor of Clare.jpg

Mr. Ohlmeyer is a noted watch specialist and has a large and varied .stock

of the world's renowned makes, which carry special guarantees, and include the famous 'R.J.A. Jewellex', widely known because of their reliability, accuracy, and beauty of construction.

  • Being a watch specialist, it is obvious that Mr. Ohlmeyer is also an expert in all watch and clock repairs, and residents should remember this when these articles need attention.

An outstanding feature of this establishment is the personal service given

by Mr. Ohlmeyer to his large clientele, and those requiring watches, jewellery, or other articles suitable for personal gifts are advised to either pay a visit or 'phone 13 for an appointment to this local watch specialist, jeweller, and optician.

Left: J.W. Oldmeyer, Jeweller, of Clare, twice mayor of Clare.

Below: Ohlmeyer store at Tanunda run by Will's brother Albert Ohlmeyer

Ohlmeyer Watch, clock and jeweller store
Mr. J. W. Ohlmeyer

Northern Argus (Clare, SA) Wed 13 Dec 1950 Page 10 Death of Mr. J. W. Ohlmeyer


AT the age of 81 years the death of Mr. John Henry William Ohlmeyer, of William St., Clare, occurred suddenly at his home on Saturday evening;

Dec. 9th 1950, and the internment at Clare cemetery on Monday afternoon, Dec. 11, 1950.

  • The event was a sudden shock to his family, relatives and friends and townspeople.

  • A familiar business figure he was at work as usual all last week and on Friday and on Saturday morning,

  • but passed away suddenly just after going to bed at 9 o'clock in the evening.

A keen townsman, the large cortege and many beautiful floral tributes, paid testimony to the esteem in which he was held.

  • The Rev. W. E. Haddrick, Presbyterian Minister, was the officiating clergyman. Pall bearers were Messrs. R. 0. Knappstein, I. S. Scott, G. G. Brebner (Secretary Oddfellows) and J. H. Buzacott, with Mr. P. T. Phillips as funeral director.

  • Mr. Fred Pryor read the Oddfellows service, and members of the Mark Masonic Lodge, and Clare Masonic Lodge placed emblems upon the casket.


We do not intend to itemize all the good works or many associations of the late Mr. Ohlmeyer.

  • To all it can readily be said — he was friend and counsellor.

  • Few men in their time in Clare have done so much for public welfare, for organisations and for charities.


Mayor of Clare during the dark days of World War One (in 1914-15 and for the second time in 1937--1939) he carried out the Mayoral duties with

dignity and sacrifice, and for a very long period was Secretary of the Independent Order of Oddfellows, Manchester Unity.

  • In World War II. his son, Pilot Jack Ohlmeyer was one of the first Australian casualties when he was killed when his parachute failed to open in an air disaster over Sydney.

  • Another son Mr. W. J. (Jim) Ohlmeyer, of Adelaide, was a prisoner of war under the Japanese for a number of years in World War Two.


Much of the Tree planting, scenic beauty and town planning of Clare is in part due to Mr. Ohlmeyer's influence. In times past a member of Clare Brass Band, the Orchestra and Institute and many other organisations as well as civic affairs, he provided a life full of help. encouragement and patriotism.

  • He married one of the daughters of the late Mr. and Mrs. James Hill, of Inchiquin (Mary Adelaide Lucy Hill) and the widow survives.

There are three daughters —

  • Misses Lucy, shopkeeper in Clare,

  • and Ada Ohlmeyer, who married Clement Knappstein

  • Nora, Mrs. Max Bryant, all of Clare,

— and one surviving son

  • Mr. (formerly Private) W. J. Ohlmeyer, of Adelaide,
    the latter being present at the graveside.

The Union Jack flew at half mast on the Town Hall flag staff on the day of the funeral.


The late Mr. Ohlmeyer was a member of the Oddfellows, Manchester Unity for 49 years, and secretary until 1946, for 33 years.

  • Chief mourners at the graveside were Mr. W. J. Ohlmeyer, Mr. Max Bryant, and Doctor David Davies.

  • The Oldmeyer business in Main Street is to carry on as usual. Miss Dulcie Scott of the well known Clare family ran that shop for many years. She lived in the large Scott house on the corner of Albert and William Street.

Car Crashes into Jewellers Window 31 Jan
Business Jubilee Ohlmeyer Watch Jeweller
Obituary J W Ohlmeyer

 Northern Argus (Clare, SA)  Fri 5 Jul 1935  Page 7


On Wednesday afternoon, June 26th 1935. at lnchiquin, Clare, the home (of Mrs.) James Hill, grandmother of the bride, the marriage was celebrated of

  • Norah Mary, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Ohlmeyer, Clare, and

  • Max Colin, son of Mr. and the late Mrs. Bryant, of Lock, West Coast.

The Rev. A. E. Page, B.A., B.D., minister of the Presbyterian Church performed the ceremony.

The wedding took place in the ballroom of Inchiquin, which was decorated with bowls of mixed flowers in autumn shades, and tall silver candelabra supporting orange candles.

A large carpet square, also in autumn shades, with cushions of satin and gold lame for the bridal couple completed the decorations.

The bride, who entered the ball-room with her father, wore a gown of white moracain, with slashed sleeves, and a cowled neckline, finished with a silver-tassled girdle. Her long veil was worn with a halo of orange blossom, and she carried a sheaf of white and pink flowers.

Miss Lucy Ohlmeyer, who attended her sister as bridesmaid, wore a frock of apricot silk net, veiling taffeta with frilled epaulet sleeves, and a skirt  composed of frills, and wore a halo of flowers to match her frock. Her sheaf of flowers was in autumn shades.

Mr. Russell Barrey, of Adelaide, supported the bridegroom.

The Wedding March from Lohengrin, and other appropriate music was delightfully rendered by Miss Ethel Lewcock.

A reception followed, the guests being received by the bridal party and the bride's parents—the bridegroom's father being unable to attend.

Mrs. Ohlmeyer wore a frock of deep saxé blue floral silk, and carried a posy of rosebuds and violets. The usual toasts were honored, and numerous telegrams read by Mr. L. A. Davies.

After the reception the guests were each charmed to receive a sprig of white heather from the bride, as a token of happiness.

The happy couple left midst a shower of confetti for a motor tour, the bride wearing an ensemble of brown and green flecked tweed and a brown hat.

Those present were Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Ohlmeyer, Mrs. James Hill, Mr. and Mrs. L. A. Davies, Miss J. Hill, Miss Ada Ohlmeyer, Messrs. Jim and Jack Ohlmeyer, Rev. and Mrs. A. E. Page, Mrs. Wade, Mr. and Mrs. Groom, Mr. and Mrs. T. H. Symons, .Miss Miriam Symons, Mrs. J. H. Knappstein, Miss Jean Knapptein, Mr. and Mrs. E. C. Deland, Miss M. F. Tilbrook, Miss D. Scott, Peter Grovermann, Miss Ethel Lewcock, Mr. Ron Allen, Miss Evelyn Jeffrey, Miss G. Shuttleworth.

In the evening the guests and about sixty young folk were entertained.

Memoir: Norah and Max

Courtesy of Val Tilbrook

Norah (nee Ohlmeyer) spent most of her life in her garden and won many prizes at the Clare annual October Show for her flowers and floral arrangements.

Norah did not care for clothes or hairdo, so she always looked a bit scruffy.

Husband, Max Bryant, had a large galvanised workshop on the present site of Office National but his workshop filled up the whole area. It  had Max Bryant Engineers written in large letters on the building.  

Norah was a character and in her later years she supervised swimmers at the (second) Clare swimming pool which was in the present Pioneer Park opposite the bowling green. Her word was law.

Max and Norah lived on the corner of Daly and Agnes Streets.

That is a good solid house and may have been built by Robins Brothers as it is similar in style with steps leading up to the front door.

1936 Requestion to JW Ohlmeyer as Mayor
Ohlmeyer Watch Jewellery advertisement
1937 Fancy Dress Frolic.jpg
Bryant special.jpeg

The sensation of the 20 Mile Handicap feature race meeting at the SCCSA’s Buckland Park Beach meeting in January 1935, was the twin-engined Essex Special with owner-driver Peter Hawker, variously named the ‘Bryant Special’, after its Clare builder, or more fondly, the ‘Bungaree Bastard’ after its driver.

Clare Pioneer Families to be United in Marriage

In Scot's Church, Adelaide, on Saturday, January 16, 1954, at 2 pm., two Pioneer Clare families gathered in force for the wedding of Clement Dalston Knappstein to Ada Ohlmeyer, and Miss Lucy Ohlmeyer sent out a large number of invitations for the occasion.

This ceremony is of special local importance, because it unites in matrimony two members of Two of the Oldest Clare pioneer families.

The family of Ohlmeyer, through its progenitors, dates back to the family of Mr. and Mrs. James Hill, who occupied and entertained at Inchiquin in earlier days of the Town, the late Mrs. Ohlmeyer being a daughter of the House of Hill's of Inchiquin.

Clement Knappstein brings in the other side of the pioneers, for his father founded what is known to-day as the Stanley Wine Company, Ltd., and by hureulean efforts in the 1890's of last century 'buildt better than he knew', or thought possible when many years before, he came to Clare as a young man.

Ohlmeyer Knappstein Wedding
1943 Corporal Lucy Ohlmeyer wins voting.
Lucy Ohlmeyer
1936 Lucy Ohlmeyer thanked for Clare Cen
Lucy Charlotte Ohlmeyer

Lucy Charlotte Ohlmeyer was born before World War 1, and was a librarian who worked at the Clare Institute.

She was a VAD driver during the war and afterwards worked as a Jeweller in her father's shop.

 Fri 14 Jun 1940

The present Clare Guide Company was formed by Miss Jean Wien-Smith, who for 12 years did yeoman service to the movement by laying such a solid foundation that, despite many ups and downs the Guide movement is firmly established in Clare.

Soon afterwards a Brownie Pack came into existence and was run by Miss Dolan (now Mrs. Campbell) and Miss Chomley. It was later taken over by Miss Lucy Ohlmeyer and Mrs. Aitken.

Lucy Ohlmeyer with Girl Guides of Clare



Last week a Vice-Regal visit was made to Clare, where Lady Hore-Ruthven inspected the local Guides, and afterwards, with Sir Alexander, attended a Ball in the Town Hall.

Above. Pictured From left

— Mesdames Christison, Rudall (District Commissioner for Lower North), Lady Hore-Ruthven, Mrs. H. Snashall (District Commissioner for Clare), and Miss Lucy Ohlmeyer (foreground. at right).

​Right: Lucy Ohlmeyer, in VAD vehicle


Fri 27 Mar 1942
Miss Lucy Ohlmeyer has resigned her position as Quartermaster and Mrs A G McG Dey has been temporarily appointed in her place.


Miss Ohlmeyer left for Adelaide on Tuesday, she having been accepted for duty with the formation known as the A.W.A.A.S. (Australian Women's

Auxiliary Army Service.)

Members of the local R.C.D., kindred patriotic organisations, also the Northern Argus, congratulate her on her enlistment.

Tilbrook Millie 1984 her 90th birthday.j
Lucy Ohlmeyer, VAD in WW2.jpg

Above left: Lucy Ohlmeyer as a Voluntary Aid driver during WW2.

Photos courtesy of Val Tilbrook

Above: Millie Tilbrook cuts the cake on her 90th birthday, watched by Lucy Ohlmeyer.

Below left: Lucy Ohlmeyer Listed as Jeweller 27 September 1954

and below right: Lucy advertised as a Jeweller in Clare in 1951

Lucy Ohlmeyer 27 Sept 1954.jpg
Miss Lucy Ohlmeyer shop 1951.jpg
headstone of Lucy Ohlmeyer.jpg

Lucy Ohlmeyer passed away on June 22 1979 and was buried in Clare Cemetery

Death of Pilot Jack Ohlmeyer Pilot
pic_Pilot R J Ohlmeyer.jpg
Death of son Jack Ohlmeyer, Pilot

Untimely end to Promising Career of young Jack Ohlmeyer.

Quite a gloom was cast over the town of Clare and district on Thursday and Friday of last week when it was learned from Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Ohlmeyer and family that their second son, Robert John ("Jack"') Ohlmeyer had been killed in an aeroplane crash while making an authorised reconnaissance flight in a service aeroplane on the South Coast of New South Wales, operating from the Richmond aerodrome.

The crash occurred at about 3.30p.m. on the Thursday, and an eye witness saw the aeroplane dive out of low misty clouds and the pilot separately close behind it.

The machine crashed to earth and the engine was buried 6 feet in the earth.

The parachute worn by the pilot unfortunately failed to open, and he was found 100 yards away from the plane.

An Air Enquiry was held and arrangements completed to send the casket by rail home to Clare in the Sydney—Melbourne—Adelaide Express.


The Mail (Adelaide, SA) Sat 25 Nov 1939 Page 18 Pilots Honor Dead Comrade

The following tribute was paid in Sydney to the young pilot officer, says the Adelaide "Mail":—

"Sydney, Saturday.—An impressive ceremony, the first of its kind in the history of the Royal Australian Air Force in New South Wales, was carried out at the Central Railway Station to-night when officers and men of No. 3 Squadron, Richmond, paid their last respects to Pilot-Officer R. J. Ohlmeyer, a South Australian, who was killed when his plane crashed on the south coast last Thursday."

"With Air Force honors they placed the coffin aboard the Melbourne -express

and stood by silently as it began its long journey to the dead pilot's home at Clare."

"With the coffin draped in the Union Jack and bearing the dead officers cap and sword, it was carried along the platform by officers who had trained and graduated at Point Cook last month with Pilot-Officer Ohlmeyer. 

Other  members of his unit, with rifles reversed, marched in front of the coffin.

It was unfortunate that the Sword and Cap were mislaid in Melbourne when being transferred the railways, and did not arrive Clare with the casket."


OHLMEYER was a young Pilot Officer who crashed on a solo training-flight from Richmond RAAF Base and into the Illawarra area near Jambaroo. 

Below: Hawker Demon formation, Jack flying second aircraft A1-62

1939 RAAF Pilot Killed.jpg
1939 Late Pilot Officer Ohlmeyer.jpg
3_Sqn_1939_Demon formation of Hawker Dem

A pretty formation of Hawker Demons from 3 Squadron in 1939.
Aircraft A1-62 is visible second from front.


The Kiama Independent, Saturday 25 November 1939

Pilot-Officer Ohlmeyer, of the R.A.A.F., was killed when a Hawker Demon plane [Serial A1-62], of which he was the sole occupant, crashed at Fountaindale, near Jamberoo NSW, shortly after 3 o'clock on Thursday afternoon.  It had been a cloudy day, and visibility was poor.  

Signaller Jim Ohlmeyer POW
Signaller Jim Ohlmeyer
Signaller Jim Ohlmeyer's Letter to his Mother
1943 Signaller Jim Ohlmeyer Letter 1.jpg
1943 Signaller Jim Ohlmeyer Letter 2.jpg
1943 Signaller Jim Ohlmeyer Letter 3.jpg
1943 Signaller Jim Ohlmeyer found
Sept 1945 Jim Ohlmeyer arrives at Darwin
Prisoners of War under the Japs 2.jpg
Prisoners of War under the Japs.jpg
Jim Ohlmeyer's Letter to his Mother
Mrs J W Ohlmeyer
Death of Mrs. J. W. Ohlmeyer

Northern Argus (Clare, SA) Wed 18 Apr 1951 Page 5 Death of Mrs. J. W. Ohlmeyer

THE death occurred on. Sunday April 14 1951, after a lengthy illness, of Mrs. Mary Adelaide Lucy Ohlmeyer (74) just five months after the death of her


  • One of the members of the Hill family who for many years occupied the pioneer Clare homestead known as 'Inchiquin,' she was amongst a bevy of daughters who before marriage did much entertaining in the earlier days of the town.

  • With her husband when he was Mayor of Clare in World War I. the late Mrs. Ohlmeyer helped many activities; in later years she was again Mayoress of Clare, and she had a pleasing disposition that gained her many friends in all walks of life.

A sad blow to both husband and wife was the untimely death of their son Pilot Officer Jack Ohlmeyer, who was one of the first Australians to lose his life in World War Two.

  • This catastrophe undoubtedly greatly affected them both but they bore the stress and strains of the war years together with great fortitude and courage.

  • The surviving only son is Mr. Jim Ohlmeyer of Adelaide;

  • Misses Lucy and Ada Ohlmeyer of Clare;

  • and Mrs Max Bryant, of Clare;, and five grandchidren.

Many beautiful floral tributes were received.

The officiating Minuter at Clare Cemetery on Monday, April 16 was Rev. W. E. Haddrick, and Mr. T. T. Phillips, funeral director.

Pall bearers mere Messrs. I. S. Scott C. Pink P.T.' Brebnner. and R. O. Knappstein.

J W's Father, Wilhelm Anton Ohlmeyer
Wilhelm Anton Ohlmeyer,
Father of Clare Mayor J W Ohlmeyer

Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA) Sat 29 Jun 1912 Page 14 TANUNDA.

TANUNDA. Passing of a Pioneer.

June 27. — Mr. Wilhelm Anton Ohlmeyer, one of the oldest inhabitants in the district, died on Wednesday 26 Jun 1912.

  • The deceased, who was in his 83rd year, was born on October 23, 1829, at Hamburg, Germany.

  • At the age of 19 years he left the Fatherland in the sailing vessel Prebislav (see left), landing at Melbourne in 1849.

  • From there he came to this State of SA and settled at Black Forest, near Adelaide.

  • Some time later he left for the Victorian diggings, at which he was fairly successful.

  • Having returned to this State he found employment at the then well-known grocery firm, Messrs. Goerecke and Rosenheim of Tanunda, and remained there for a number of years.


In the year 1871 he took charge of the Tanunda Hotel, which he conducted in a first-class manner until 1882, after which

  • he purchased the well-known storekeeping business of Mr. A. Kroemer, and now occupied by his son-in-law (Mr. G. H. Riebe).

  • He was musical, and about 18 years ago Mr. Ohlmeyer made an extensive trip through Germany.

  • Years ago Mr Ohlmeyer took an active part in all local matters.


Family of Wilhelm Anton Ohlmeyer

  • A widow, six children,

  1. Wilhelm Otto (1856-)

  2. Wilhelmine Dorothea (1858-)

  3. Johanne Charlotte (1861-)

  4. Carl Heinrich Albert (1863-1940) Jeweller of Tanunda

  5. Louise Sophie Emilie (1867-)

  6. Johann Heinrich Wilhelm (1869-) - Clare's John Henry William

  7. Charlotte Dorothea Antonie (1872-)

  • and 14 grandchildren,

    • also one brother (Mr. Ernst Martin Carl (1835-1919), butcher of Torrensville) and

    • sister Mrs. J. M. Wendt, (of Adelaide), widow of Mr. J. M. Wendt, who for many years carried on business as a Jeweller in Rundle Street, and who trained nephews J.W. Ohlmeyer, Jeweller of Clare, Albert Ohlmeyer, Jeweller of Tanunda, and of Wilhelm Otto, of Ohlmeyer and Keightly Jewellers, at Angaston.


First wife: Married -10 May 1855, Adelaide, SA 57423

Charlotte Dorothea Friederike GROVERMANN,

Birth ca 1835,

Immigration 31 Mar 1848, ‘Pauline’ 22715 Age: 13

Death 8 Nov 1879, Tanunda, SA 57422 Age: 44

Second wife: Married 21 Apr 1892, Adelaide, SA 57425

Louise Thusnelda Caroline GROVERMANN, (sister of Charlotte, above)

Birth ca 1841, Holstein

Immigration 31 Mar 1848, ‘Pauline’ 22715 Age: 7

Death 16 Feb 1915, Tanunda, SA 57424 Age: 74


It is interesting that mayor J W (Will) Ohlmeyer of Clare is never mentioned in regards to his father, (or brother) in Tanunda.

  • Perhaps this is because the brothers lived and trained as Jewellers in Adelaide with their aunt, and her husband, the Wendts, while father tried his hand at the gold diggings in Victoria.

  • perhaps they were closer to aunt Mrs Wendt in Adelaide, while the second marriage of their father to their aunt(Louise Grovermann) and his move to Tanunda contributed to this estrangement.

The barque Pribislav / Pribislaw, 354 tons, Captain P.W. Niemann,

  • from Hamburg 21st August 1849,

  • via Port Phillip 18th February 1850,

  • arrived at Port Adelaide, South Australia 1st March 1850.

Barque 'Prisislav' which made one trip t

The 350 tonne barque Pribislaw, built in Ribnitz in 1847, left Hamburg on 23 August 1849 with 229 passengers.

  • As a result of the deaths of two adults and ten children during September and October, the passengers forced Captain P. W. Niemann to make an unscheduled stop at Rio de Janeiro on 27 October 1849.

  • While in Brazil, some of the passengers signed a petition about the quality of the food and sent it to the Hamburg Consul there, Arthur Guiguer.

Most passengers disembarked in Port Phillip Melbourne 18th February 1850, only 23 arriving at Port Adelaide 1st March 1850.

Family of Wilhelm Anton Ohlmeyer
The barque Pribislav
Wendt's Jewellers

Joachim Matthias Wendt arrived in Port Adelaide in 1854, just 18 years after the foundation of South Australia.

He was born in 1830 in Denmark. His mother died when he was nine years of age, leaving his father to look after him and two sisters. Joachim became a watchmaker's apprentice.

He brought these skills to South Australia, quickly opening a small watchmaking and jewellery shop in Pirie Street, Adelaide.

J. M. Wendt had married a widow, Johanna Maria Koeppen, in 1872.

Her son Herman entered her husband's jewellery business and added Wendt to his name, becoming Herman Koeppen (H. K. J Wendt.

After the Ohlmeyer brothers left, Herman and his brother, Jule were made partners of the business, in 1903. Jule was sent abroad to be the overseas buyer.

Business was good so he soon moved and in 1852 opened premises at 68 Rundle Street, moving to larger premises at 84 Rundle Street in 1861[4] then no. 70 in 1874.[5]

Wendt's soon became recognised as a top quality shop. Their jewellery, silverware, watches and clocks were equal to the best which were imported.

In 1864 and 1865 Joachim received first prizes at a Scottish exhibition.

In 1871, Wendt's was selected to make silverware caskets featuring Australian motifs for the Duke of Edinburgh, who was visiting Adelaide and other towns.

So pleased was the Duke of Edinburgh with Wendt's craftsmanship that he purchased additional items and appointed J. M. Wendt 'Jeweller to His Royal Highness in this Colony'.

By this time, twelve silversmiths, watch-makers, jewellers and shop assistants were being employed.

These assistants obviously included the Oldmeyer brothers, who all opened Jewellery shops in the Mid-North.

Wendt's reputation for quality was further confirmed by the award of two first prizes for silverware at the 1878 Paris Exhibition.

Success followed success, leading to a broadening of interests, including an involvement in the building of the Theatre Royal, the Adelaide Arcade and the Freemason's Hall.

Read more:

Tanunda Brother (and Jeweller)
Albert Ohlmeyer's handmade car


About historic South Australian places and things, we unveil the Ohlmeyer Jigger – an early car made by a Tanunda jeweller in his backyard.

Albert Ohlmeyer's handmade car
Detail of the articulated steering system of the Jigger

Above: The restored 1904 Ohlmeyer Jigger. Supplied image/History Trust

At the start of the twentieth century Albert Ohlmeyer, a jeweller living in Tanunda, was a keen motoring enthusiast and the proud owner of a Minerva motorcycle.

The car was a relatively recent invention and few of them had made their way to Australian roads by then. Almost all were imported from Europe or the United States and, unable to afford them, Albert chose to hand build a car in his own back yard. It was called the ‘Jigger’: it had two speeds (high and low) and no springing system, leaving the tyres to absorb any road shock. Despite this, the Jigger reputedly gave a comfortable ride up to speeds of 20 mph.

The small number of early motorists faced difficult conditions in Australia. In 1904 bitumen roads were not in use and most country roads were simply beaten dirt paths or macadam roads designed for the horse and cart. These were often dusty and dry or wet and boggy, so Albert created an unusual articulated steering wheel column to help the driver hop out of the seat and steer from the side of the car when it was bogged.

Left: Detail of the articulated steering system. Photo supplied by History Trust

In the Jigger’s first years the tyres, ignition and a slipping belt often caused the driver to stop for roadside repairs within a 10-mile run. A stop was also necessary every eight or nine miles to fill the oil cups for the countershaft bearings. Petrol was not easy to obtain either: a three gallon petrol can would be sent by coach to Gawler, then on to Tanunda by rail.

When Albert bought a Model T Ford in 1916, his two sons Julian and Ernst began to use the Jigger.

After a working life of around 20 years, the Jigger was abandoned and eventually restored by the Ohlmeyer family in the 1960s. It has been on display at the National Motor Museum since 1986.


Left: Brothers Julian and Ernst Ohlmeyer sit in the Jigger built by their father Albert, 1906. Photos supplied by History Trust.

Julian and Ernst Ohlmeyer were photographed again in the Jigger around 20 years later.

Left: Standing by an unrestored Jigger, c.1960.

Michelangelo Bolognese is senior curator at the National Motor Museum.

Ohlmeyer Family Tree in Australia


Arrival 1 -- Ohlmeyer Settlers

Mr. and Mrs. J G M Ohlmeyer arrived in August, 1849 at South Australia, from Hamburg, in the barque Prebislau (300 tons).


Father: OHLMEYER, Johann Gabriel Martin Birth ca. 1800

The journey out occupied 6½ months, and Adelaide was not reached until March, 1850.

Wife: Wilhelmine Birth ca. 1802


Children born in Germany

  1. Heinrich Ohlmeyer born 1822, died 25th August 1884, at Colima, Mexico, aged 62 years, the eldest son of the late J. G. M. Ohlmeyer

  2. Emilie Henriette (ca 1824-1885)

  3. Wilhelm Anton (1829-1912) father of the Clare and Tanunda families who had left the ship in Melbourne Vic in 1849

  4. Johanna Maria Caroline (1832-1919)

  5. Louise Marie Henrietta (ca1833-1909)

  6. Ernst Martin Carl (1835-1919) Butcher; Adelaide. m 12/2/1862 Pirie St Wesleyan Chapel Adelaide, Amy OAKLEY eldest daughter of the late Edward Oakley




Arrival 2 -- Later Ohlmeyer Settlers

ARRIVED. Oct 7 1882 in the steamer VICTORIAN, 415 tons, John McLean, master, from Melbourne September 5

—Mesdame Ohlmeyer, 

—Messrs Ohlmeyer, F. Ohlmeyer,  and M. Ohlmeyer


Full Ohlmeyer Family Tree

From: Lehmann Henschke Family tree


Children of Johann Gabriel Martin OHLMEYER, Birth ca. 1800

1. OHLMEYER, Emilie Henriette

Birth ca 1824

Death 2 Feb 1885367 Age: 61

Burial West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, SA 367

Burial Memo Section: Road 2 -Path Number: 11-E/W/-Count: E-Site Number: 3



1 REINHARDT, Johann Gottlieb Christoph

Birth ca 1825

Death 8 Aug 1900  367 Age: 75

Burial  West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, SA 367

Burial Memo Section: Road 2 -Path Number: 11-E/W/-Count: E-Site Number: 3

Marriage 6 Nov 1849, Adelaide, SA 57439


  1. Louise Martine Agnes (1854-1940)

  2.  Gustav Wilhelm Emiel (1856-)

  3.  Hermina Sophie Ida (1858-)

  4.  Louise Henriette Helene (1860-)

  5.  Johann Martin Heinrich (1862-)

  6.  Christoph Friedrich Martin (1864-)

  7.  Johanna Marie Olga (1865-)

  8.  Henriette Christina Francisca (Died as Infant) (1867-1867)

Children of OHLMEYER, Johann Gabriel Martin Birth ca. 1800

2. Wilhelm Anton OHLMEYER,

Birth 23 Oct 1829, Hamburg, Germany 57419

Immigration1 Mar 1850, ‘Pribislaw’ 57420 Age: 20

Death 26 Jun 1912, Tanunda, SA 57421,57419 Age: 82


Spouses of Wilhelm Anton Ohlmeyer


1 GROVERMANN, Charlotte Dorothea Friederike

Birth ca 1835

Immigration 31 Mar 1848, ‘Pauline’ 22715 Age: 13

Death 8 Nov 1879, Tanunda, SA 57422 Age: 44

Father GROVERMANN, Alexander Friedrich Arnold (ca1807-1869)

Mother Dora Johanne (ca1806-)

Marriage 10 May 1855, Adelaide, SA57423


  1.  Wilhelm Otto (1856-) m. 8 Feb 1900, Tanunda, SA to KASCHWIG, Louise Marie b. 1 Nov 1856, Adelaide, SA
    died 12 May 1907, Adelaide, SA, age: 46

  2. Wilhelmine Dorothea (1858 - ) married 5 May 1881, Tanunda, SA to SPERBER, Eduard Ferdinand Theodor b. ca 1850

  3. Johanne Charlotte (1861- )

  4. Carl Heinrich Albert (1863-1940) narried 6 Oct 1897, Adelaide, SA to OHLMEYER, Amy Louise b. 25 Jul 1863, Adelaide, SA,  d. 27 Jul 1901, Tanunda, SA, age: 37

  5.  Louise Sophie Emilie (1867- ) married 17 Nov 1892, Adelaide, SA to FREYTAG, Bernhard Franz Joseph b. ca 1863

  6.  Johann Heinrich Wilhelm (1869-) The Jeweller of Clare
    anglicised to Mr. John Henry William Ohlmeyer
    and known as "J.W. (Will) Ohlmeyer"

  7.  Charlotte Dorothea Antonie (1872- ) m. 18 Apr 1904, Tanunda, SA to RIEBE, Gustav Hermann b. 6 Jul 1868, Tanunda, SA


Spouses of Wilhelm Anton Ohlmeyer

2 GROVERMANN, Louise Thusnelda Caroline

Birth ca 1841, Holstein

Immigration 31 Mar 1848, ‘Pauline’  22715 Age: 7

Death 16 Feb 1915, Tanunda, SA 57424 Age: 74

Father GROVERMANN, Alexander Friedrich Arnold ca1807-1869)

Mother Dora Johanne (ca1806- )

Marriage 21 Apr 1892, Adelaide, SA 57425

Children of OHLMEYER, Johann Gabriel Martin Birth ca. 1800

3. Johanna Maria Caroline OHLMEYER, later Mrs. J. Wendt

Birth 29 Dec 1832, Hamburg, Germany 10364

Immigration 1 Mar 1850, ‘Pribislaw’ Age: 17

Death 16 May 1919, Adelaide, SA 10364 Age: 86

Married twice:



1 KOEPPEN, Hermann Theodor

Birth ca 1826. Hermann saw Johanna in the street and corresponded with her. -- Read his letters from the diggings in 1851
Death 1 Nov 1868, Adelaide, SA 57444,1980 Age: 42

Burial West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, SA 1980

Marriage on 16 Mar 1852, Adelaide, SA 57445


  1. Wilhelmine Anna (1854-1933)

  2. Louise Johanna (1856-1894)

  3. Clara Emilie (1858-)

  4. Carl Hermann (1860-1938)


2 WENDT, Joachim Matthias

Birth 26 Jun 1830, Dägeling, Holstein 10364,57446

Death 7 Sep 1917, Wakefield St, Adelaide, SA 10364,57446

Age: 87

Burial North Road Cemetery, Nailsworth, SA 10364,57446

Occupation Silversmith 57446

Joachim Matthias "J. M." Wendt (26 June 1830 – 7 September 1917) was a silversmith and manufacturing jeweller in the early days of South Australia.

Father WENDT, Joachim Matthias

Mother SCHLICHTING, Christina

who died when Joachim was aged 9. He was raised by his father and two sisters, and he was apprenticed to a watchmaker and learned the silversmith's craft.

Marriage 25 Dec 1869, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 10364, 57446, 57447


  1. Julius Matthias (1871- )

  2. Alice Emily Louise (1873-1961)

  3. Mararetha Hermoine (1875- )

  4. Clara Mathilde

Children of OHLMEYER, Johann Gabriel Martin Birth ca. 1800

4. Louise Marie Henrietta OLDMEYER (ca1833-1909)

Birth ca 1833, Hamburg, Germany

Immigration 1 Mar 1850, ‘Pribislaw’ 57420 Age: 17

Death 9 May 1909, North Adelaide, SA 57441,57442 Age: 76


Marriage Illustrated Australian News (Melbourne, Vic) Wednesday 20 March 1878
KEFFEL— OHLMEYER. — On tho 10th February, 1876

Hugo Keffel, of Berlin, to Louise Bungert, of Hamburg, youngest daughter of Mr. J. M. G. Ohlmeyer, of Tanunda.

Obituary - The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA) Wednesday 12 May 1909 57442
KEFFEL.—On the 9th May 1909, at North Adelaide, Louise, the dearly beloved wife of H. Keffel, of Glenelg.


1. BUNGERT, Johann Christian Gustav

Birth ca 1817

Death 13 Oct 1877, Adelaide, SA 54191,367,57440 Age: 60

Burial 14 Oct 1877, West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, SA 54191,367

Burial Memo Section: Road 1 North -Path Number: 7-E/W: W-Site Number: 17

Occupation Boarding House Keeper 54191

Marriage 13 Oct 1855, Black Forest, SA 57443,54191


2. KEFFEL, Hugo August Ferdinand

Birth Berlin, Brandenburg, Prussia 57523

Death 14 Oct 1921, Royston Park, SA 57524,57525

Burial Payneham, SA 693

Marriage 10 Feb 1878, Vic 57523


Children of OHLMEYER, Johann Gabriel Martin Birth ca. 1800

5. Ernst Martin Carl OHLMEYER

Birth 27 Aug 1835, Hamburg, Germany 57419

Immigration 1 Mar 1850, ‘Pribislaw’ 57420 Age: 14

Death 9 Nov 1919 57419 Age: 84

Burial 10 Nov 1919, West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, SA 57419,367

Burial MemoSection: Road 2 -Path Number: 10-E/W/-Count: W-Site Number: 5




Birth ca 1844, Fleet, Lincolnshire 57419

Immigration 1 Feb 1850, ‘Agincourt’ 47410 Age: 6

Death 19 May 1896, Kensington, SA 57433,57419 Age: 52

Burial 20 May 1896, West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, SA 367

Burial MemoSection: Road 2 -Path Number: 10-E/W/-Count: W-Site Number: 5

Father OAKLEY, Edward Henry (ca1823-)

Mother Amy (Ann) (ca1819-1865)

Marriage 12 Feb 1862, Adelaide, SA57434



  1. Clara Wilhelmine (1863-1891)

  2.  Amy Louise (1864-1901)

  3.  Annie Charlotte (Died as Infant) (1866-1867)

  4.  Florence Bessie (1867-1888)

  5.  Charles Heinrich (Died as Infant) (1869-1869)

  6.  Minna Blanche (1870-1893)

  7.  Johann Alfred (1872-1921)

  8.  Ernest William Carl (1877-1905)

  9.  Elsie Henrietta Elizabeth (1880-)

  10.  Cyril Julius Hugh Harry (1886-)


Spouse 2

2. READHEAD, Flora Jane

Birth ca 1866 57419

Death 1 Mar 1951, Semaphore, SA 57419,367 Age: 85

Burial 3 Mar 1951, West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, SA 367

Burial Memo Section: Road 2 -Path Number: 10-E/W/-Count: W-Site Number: 5

Marriage 2 Aug 1899, Adelaide, SA 57435

Ohlmeyer Family Tree in Australia
Children of Johann G. M. OHLMEYER
Arrival 1 -- Ohlmeyer Settlers
Arrival 2 -- Later Ohlmeyer Settlers
1. Emilie Henriette (ca 1824-1885)
2. Wilhelm Anton OHLMEYER
3. Johanna Maria Caroline OHLMEYER
4. Louise Marie Henrietta OLDMEYER
rothers Julian and Ernst Ohlmeyer sit in the Jigger built by their father Albert, 1906
Julian and Ernst Ohlmeyer were photographed again in the Jigger around 20 years later. Standing by an unrestored Jigger, c.1960.
5. Ernst Martin Carl OHLMEYER

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA)  Mon 19 May 1919 Page 6

The death of Mrs. Wendt, widow of Mr. J. M. Wendt, who for many years carried

on business as a jeweller in Rundle Street,

occurred on Friday evening at her home

in Wakefield-street, after a long and pain-

ful illness.

  • Mrs. Wendt had reached the age of 88 years, and, having lived in and near Adelaide for 69 years, she had established a large circle of friends.

She was born in Hamburg, which place she left with her parents (Mr. and Mrs. Ohlmeyer) in August, 1849, for South Australia in the ship Prebislau (300 tons). The journey out occupied 6½ months, and Adelaide was not reached until March, 1850.

  • Her early years of residence in Adelaide were under the prevailing rough pioneering conditions, and she could tell many stories of hardship and discomfort.

  • She well remembered the large gum trees being grubbed in Grenfell Street, and she knew Rundle Street when there was only one shop in it.

  • Having lived near the metropolis all her life, she had opportunities of watching its development.

She married the late Mr. Wendt in 1871.

J.M. Wendt was a successful jeweller and businessman.

  • He was one of the consortium that built the Adelaide Arcade, which he eventually owned, and opened a second shop at 24–28 in the Arcade.

  • He was part owner of the original Theatre Royal in Hindley Street.[9]

  • He built the Freemasons' Hall in Flinders Street

There were two sons and four daughters left.

Aunt Mrs. Wendt
Wendt Antique diamond bangle lge.jpg
Uncle Ernst Martin Carl OHLMEYER
Uncle: Mr. Ernst Martin Carl OHLMEYER

Wedding - OHLMEYER— OAKLEY—On the 12th February 1862, at the Wesleyan Chapel, Pirie Street, by the Rev. William Butters,

  • Mr. Ernest Martin Carl Ohlmeyer, of Adelaide,

  • to Amy, eldest daughter of the late Mr. Edward Oakley, of Fleet, Lincolnshire, England.

The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide, SA) Mon 29 Aug 1910  Page 1

Mr. Ernest Martin Carl Ohlmeyer yesterday celebrated his 75th birthday at his resdence, Thebarton, in the company of his most, intimate friends.


Mr. Ohlmeyer was born at Hamburg on August 27, 1835, and was educated in his native town. He came to South Australia with his parents in 1850, and after following agricultural pursuits for a short period entered the employ, of the late Mr. Bungert, butcher, of Freeman Street. Mr. Ohlmeyer opened business on his own account in 1860, and in 1862 built his premises in Wakefield-street, and is now the oldest established butcher in Adelaide, with one exception. He is a member of the Master Butchers' Association and a Freemason.

  • The family consists of one daughter and two sons, the elder being associated with him in the business.

  • The second son (Mr. Cyril Ohlmeyer) is a very promising violinist.


Death of Ernst Martin Carl Ohyleyer,

late of Wakefield Street, City, in his 85th year.

Died on the 9th November 1919, at his late residence, Hayward Avenue, Torrensville

Ancestry Wilhelm Anton Ohlmeyer.jpg
Ancestry J W Ohlmeyer.jpg
Ancestry Ernst Carl Ohlmeyer.jpg
bottom of page