A few of our favourite things

Treasure of German songs

By Franziska Proskawetz

Franziska is visiting us from Braunschweig, Germany. She has been working with us for almost three months and as her parting gift has chosen one of her favourite things from the collection to blog about.

I discovered this precious 19th century German song book in the Migration Museum’s collection only a few days after I arrived in Adelaide for my internship at the Museum.

As a history student from Germany it has been a great pleasure for me to find out about the history of this old book, which came to South Australia in the late 19th century and belonged to Ferdinand Schmidt, the son of a German migrant. His father owned a blacksmith shop in Dutton. The book is part of a donation of German books, which all belonged to Ferdinand Schmidt. They were found by Sven Van Velsen and his wife when they bought the blacksmith’s shop in Dutton in 1971 and were donated to the Migration Museum in 2008.

The so-called ‘Liederschatz’, that is ‘Treasure of Songs’ contains the lyrics and sheet music of more than 200 old German folk songs. Some of these songs are still well-known and being sung in Germany nowadays. I have been very surprised by how old these songs must be and didn’t expect to find them in Australia.

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