John Henry Andrew MAYER (1821-1879) came to Australia from Hamburg, Germany about 1852 to work as a carpenter. I have not been able to find him in any of the shipping passenger lists of the period, so cannot pinpoint his exact date of arrival. His death certificate indicates that he had been in Australia for 27 years, hence the “guess” of 1852.
His first “official appearance” is at Robertson Park, near Mittagong, where he married Emma Jane CUPITT on 15th February 1865. The couple had 6 children together before John’s death in 1879.
Unfortunately the only surviving insight into John’s character is the reported circumstance of his death on 17th March 1879 in Wagga Wagga. The following report was published in the Wagga Wagga Express on 19th March 1879:
Fatal Accident.— On Saturday afternoon a man named Mayer, who was affected at the time by drink, in attempting to cross the temporary bridge over the Murrumbidgee upon the sleepers, missed his footing and fell to the ground. He was at once taken to the hospital, Dr. O’Connor being in immediate attendance, where he remained unconscious for some time, when vomiting of blood set in, and the unfortunate man died from the severe internal injuries received, in a state of delirium, on the following morning.
The families of John and Emma’s two sons used variations of the family name of Mayer – Mayers and Myers. This was due to anti German sentiment.