Illuminating a community leader

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Amandus Hoschke’s 1909 illuminated address

One of the most beautiful items donated to the Coffs Harbour Regional Museum recently was an illuminated address presented to Orara Valley resident Amandus Hoschke in 1909. The address features his portrait, artistic flora and birdlife, tinted photographs of the main street of Coramba and the Solitary Islands, with stylised signatures of local neighbours. More than 100 years later, it remains in perfect condition.

Dear Sir, On the eve of your departure on a well earned holiday trip to Germany, your many friends in the Orara, Bucca Creek and Coffs Harbour Districts are desirous of showing some slight recognition of the excellent services you have at all times rendered for the progress and welfare of the community generally. 

Amandus and his wife Mary Ann were original pioneers to Upper Orara in 1886, and they made a significant contribution to the development of the wider community. He had assumed the Presidency of the local Progress Association a year after arrival, and set about expanding local industry and transport infrastructure.
Upper Orara and West Branch Progress Association. (1888, August 7). Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser (Grafton, NSW : 1859 – 1889), p. 3.

Illuminated addresses were created to mark a special occasion for a person who transformed community life. It was not unusual for this gesture to be given in farewell; but less commonly, this time it was given to someone expected to return from their journey abroad. The level of confidence in this outcome was evidenced by Mrs Hoschke remaining at home with the family.

The proposal to give one of the pioneers of the district, Mr. A. Hoschke, sen.. of Upper Orara, a send-off, prior to his departure for Germany, meets with general support here, and Coff’s Harbour will be well represented on the occasion.

[EASTERN DORRIGO. (1909, April 20). Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1889 – 1915), p. 8.]

A send-off, in the form of a well represented smoke concert, was tendered to Mr. A. Hoschke. sen., of Upper Orara, on Monday evening last, on the eve of his departure for Germany.
Messrs. McLean, Smith, Martin, MacNamara, Gale, Pritzler and Cochrane also spoke, the latter gentleman presenting Mr. Hoschke with a beautiful illuminated address in album form, showing various photographs of the district, and one of the recipient.
Mr. Sherwood, in proposing the health of the guest of the evening, referred to Mr. Hoschke’s early pioneering experiences, and showed the great pluck and upright honesty of practically a young man in the little settled district of the Orara. As one who was foremost in everything that went for the best progress of the district, and one who had worked hard for the attainment of such. Mr. Hoschke was a citizen to be proud of. It afforded him the greatest pleasure to wish him bon voyage on his well earned holiday trip to his native country.
In replying, Mr. Hoschke said that it was one of the proudest moments of his life to think that he was held in such esteem by his many friends, as has been evidenced within the last few days and at the gathering that evening.

[SEND OFF AT CORAMBA (1909, May 13). Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1889 – 1915), p. 8.]

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On 28 October 1909, Mr Hoschke returned from the journey to his homeland:

Mr. Hoschke arrived home on Thursday, and is looking the better of his trip to Germany. His many friends are pleased to welcome him back to the district.

[UPPER ORARA. (1909, November 2). Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1889 – 1915), p. 2.]

Amandus Hoschke died in 1928. His obituary was generous: “He possessed all the qualifications for a pioneer, being hard working, industrious and intelligent above the ordinary. By dint of hard work, together with his family, he gained a competence, and had been living in retirement for some years. He was greatly respected by all who knew him and the settlers who came after him speak in the highest manner of the helping hand that he was always willing to extend to any one in need of assistance, although at times hard pressed himself. In the passing of Mr. Hoschke the district loses one of its grand old men.”

[Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1915 – 1954), p.4.]

The Hoschke illuminated address is able to be viewed at the Coffs Harbour Regional Museum.

CHRM HOSCHKE Family 20171011 Web Email_MG_1681-
l to r: Cath Fogarty, Cultural Development, Gallery & History Services Coordinator; Brothers Ian, Fred and Doug Hoschke, with a portrait of their great-grandmother Mary Ann Hoschke nee Drew (1847-1923) in the oval frame on the wall behind them [11 October 2017]

  • Illuminated address and donation photographs: Raymond Mather Photography
  • The family story is told in Settlers at Orara – the Hoschke Family in Australia by Ian Hoschke, 2014, which is available at both the Museum and the City Library, see