Zwar > Biographies

< back to index

Ernst Zwar (A1)

  • Born: 1855 ?
  • Parents:
    Only son of Andreas and Christiane Zwahr nee Mutscher
    • Married:
    • Hannah Wade
  • Lived:
    Saxony to 1880 and then South Australia till 1912
  • Died: Burra, South Australia 1912, aged 58 years
  • Buried:

Detailed biography

“Little” Ernst

In Australia Ernst was called ‘Little’ Ernst to distinguish him from his cousin Ernst, a son of Peter Zwar.

Ernst was born in Saxony after three of his uncles had gone to Australia. Both of his parents died at a young age. Ernst had a sister Maria. [I am not sure which one was the eldest as I don’t have his date of birth. On handwritten ‘trees’ he is usually listed first.] After the death of their parents they were brought up by their Uncle Karl in Saxony who was their godfather. Maria says he treated them as his own family.

Encouraged to emigrate

When Michael Zwar went back from Australia and visited his relatives in Saxony in 1878 he strongly encouraged Ernst and Maria to emigrate to Australia. Maria remained behind, and later regretted her decision. Ernst went to Australia in 1880.

South Australia

Kevin Zwar says, “My father-in-law Tom Heinrich told me that Ernst had worked on the Heinrich farm at Worlds End near Burra at one time.”

In her research Gwenda Obst found the following:

“Ernst Zwar lived on the Booboorowie Station in South Australia and was permanently employed there as one of the permanent staff. The station had a large woolshed.


Ernst Zwar and his wife, Hannah.

In 1992 the cottage Ernst had lived in was still there. It was a four roomed cottage with a verandah out the front and a picket fence and a little gate at the entrance. There was a large cellar away from the house to the north, with a washhouse near it. Some pepper trees gave shade to the cellar and the washhouse. There was also another big shady pepper tree between the house and the cellar on the western side.”

Gwenda’s sister remembers:

“Mrs Zwar going to Burra with other people in a horse and buggy and Hannah had brown paper wrapped round her head as it was supposed to be good to give relief from headaches.”

Ernst passed away in 1912 aged 58 years, leaving his wife and a daughter, Rita.

A notice appeared in the The Burra Herald on 21st August:

“Mrs Zwar and her daughter wish to thank Drs. Steele and Ashton, also the Matron and Nurses at the Burra Hospital, and all kind friends during their sad bereavement.”

Hannah moved into Kooringa [Burra]. On 25 September 1929 The Burra Herald carried an advertisement,

Geo. Hann
“has received instructions from Mrs Zwar, of No. 5 McBride Cottages, opposite Kooringa Methodist Church, to sell by public auction – Thursday, Sept. 26th at 2 o’clock, as follows. A list of household furniture follows, plus a new 1600 gallon tank “2 collars and winkers and a host of sundries.”

Hannah survived her husband Ernst by 20 years and died in Adelaide 1st September 1936, leaving a daughter Rita.

Two days later, back at the Booboorowie School there was a celebration of Children’s Day. The report gives us an insight into life in the district for Ernst, Hannah and Rita Zwar:

“The head teacher opened the day with a discourse on the early history of Booboorowie. The address was enhanced by a display of photos of events and incidents in the district early history, collected from local residents.”

“The head teacher, having been born in the district, had little trouble in making his lesson interesting to his listeners and touched on the old Booboorowie station, shearing, woolcarting etc, the little old school in the Methodist Church, Mr Chas. Fahey’s shop, New Year’s Day at the big waterhole in Yakilo and so on up to the cutting up of the station into its present close settlement. Old residents mentioned were Messrs Louden, Bevan, J. Q. Hofan, Affolter, Zwar, and so on.”

The Burra Herald, 8 Sept 1936.


© Kevin P Zwar