Heinrich Ludwig Vosz (1812-1886)

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Heinrich Ludwig Vosz (3 May 1812 – 9 March 1886) was a successful builder and glazier in Rundle Street, Adelaide.

Heinrich Ludwig Vosz
The late H. L. Vosz
Born29 July 1812
Bodenwerder, Kingdom of Hanover
Died9 March 1886
Adelaide, Province of South Australia
Resting placeWest Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, South Australia
  • Hanoverian (1812-?)
  • Hamburger (?-1849)
  • British(1849-1886
  • 1.Carpenter
  • 2.Glazier
  • 3.Builder


Author: Wikipedia Editors, particularly Doug butler, and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0. Edited by Benjamin Hollister and made available under the same license

In Germany

Vosz was born in Bodenwerder, Electorate of Hanover in humble circumstances, and when quite young moved with his parents to Hamburg, where he worked for a living from age 12. At 15 he was apprenticed as a carpenter and, on completion of his training, set up in business on his account. He was doing well until the European revolutions of 1848, which destroyed his business, leaving him bankrupt. He emigrated to South Australia aboard Alfred with his wife and two young sons arriving in December 1848.

In Australia

He started work as a joiner in Ackland Street (now that part of Frome Street between Grenfell and Wakefield streets) and was naturalized in August 1849. In 1848 he was selling furniture and in 1849 had a timber yard in partnership with C. E. Berthau. Then came the discovery of gold in Victoria, and in 1851 he joined the rush to the diggings.

He returned with enough money to set up in business as painter, glazier and paperhanger, and in 1853 opened a retail store at 82 (renumbered c. 1890 as 88) Rundle Street, selling window glass, paints, and wallpaper. The business prospered and he was able to repay, with interest, his creditors back in Germany. The Hamburg Reform of February 1860 published an article noting his integrity, entitled Ein braver Mann.

Vosz maintained an active interest in current events but apart from a few years (1860–1862) as City Councillor, played no active part in public affairs.

Vosz established a summer residence, dubbed "Magpie Castle" overlooking the town of Lobethal. After an outbreak of phylloxera, which ruined their vineyards, Vosz and Henry Schmidt established a glue works and tannery in the town.

He was a director of Provincial Gas Company of South Australia.

Death and Legacy

He died after several years of intense suffering from neuralgia, which no medical treatment could alleviate, and was buried at the West Terrace Cemetery without ostentation, by Rev. J. Crawford Woods. His business had become the largest of its kind in Australia; his wife and sons had predeceased him and much of his considerable fortune (proved at £108,860) was left to local charities, including the Home for Incurables, The Orphan Home, the Royal Institution for the Blind, the Fund of Benevolence of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons of South Australia, the Benevolent Fund of the Irish Constitution of Freemasons of South Australia, the Adelaide Children's Hospital, and the Cottage Homes. he also left significant legacies to extended family and employees:[1]

  • His cousin Wilhelm Schmid, of Hamburg, Germany, £8,000.
  • Johanna Schmid (sister of W. Schmid), of Hamburg, £8,000.
  • Henrietta Schmid (sister of W. Schmid), of Hamburg, £8,000.
  • Ernest Schmid (brother of W. Schmid), of Washington, America, £2,000.
  • Herman Christian Böcker, painter in employ, £4,000.
  • Julia Pittner, of Nurmburg, Bavaria, spinster, £3,000.
  • Daniel Harrison, foreman painter in employ, £3,000.
  • Charles Rieschbieth, of Adelaide, £4,000.
  • Wm. Frederick Stock, solicitor, £4,000.
  • Evelyn Cleve, daughter of Alfred Cleve, of Sydney, £1,000.
  • Ludwig Schier, of Hamburg, £2,000.
  • James H. Green, shopman employé, £250.
  • James Scheedy, an employé, £250.
  • Alexander Herben's (brother-in-law) legacy of £2,000 is revoked, and the trustees directed to set apart the sum of £2,000, and to pay the income thereof to him during his life and after his death £1,000 of the money to be paid Hermann Christian Böcker, painter; the trustees to stand possessed of the remaining £1,000 in trust for Caroline Böcker and for her children upon the same trusts as are declared by me with regard to the sum of £4 000 set apart for her and her children.
  • Gustav Reimers (or Roomers),employé,£250.
  • Samuel George Jones, employé (clerk), £250.
  • J. C. Livesay, employé, £250.
  • Peter McBride, employé, £100.
  • Fraulein Agatha Stewaker, Germany, £500.
  • William James Crawford, Manager of Union Bank, £500.
  • Tonnie Hyort (North America, believed), son of deceased's late wife's sister, £1,000 (to be claimed within seven years, failing which the money to revert to and form part of the final residuary estate).
  • Dr. Neuber, of Keil, Germany, £500.
  • J. Garrineton, employé, £50.
  • Mrs. Wm. Townsend, wife of the late W. Townsend, £500.
  • Necholos Heinrich Plaurbeck, of Esplanade, Hamburg, £250.
  • Doctor Richard Schomburgk, Director of the Botanical Gardens, £500.
  • Wm. Patchet, employé, £150.
  • F. E. H. W. Krichaufl, £350.
  • Wm. Dickens, employé, £50.
  • Anna Bartels, widow of late Adolph Bartels, £500.
  • Emma Huwaldt, wife of A. H. Huwaldt, of Hamburg, Germany, £500 (for her separate use).
  • Henry Strother, of Adelaide, sharebroker, £500.
  • Julius C. Molde, employé, £100.
  • Martha Young, widow of the late J. L. Young, £500.
  • Gesena Bosch, widow of the late Dr. Bosch, £500.
  • James William Jones, Conservator of Water. £200. (To mark my appreciation of the ability displayed by him in boring for procuring water in South Australia by means of the diamond drill).
  • Johahn Heinrick N. Schmidt, employé and assistant manager, £1000.
  • Caspar Dornhegge, employé, a legacy of 10s. per week so long as the trustees are of opinion that he is not able to work for his own living.
  • Caroline Böcker, wife of William Böcker, brother of H. C. Böcker, £4,000, to be invested for her benefit by the trustees beyond the control of her husband, the amount realized yearly on the sum named to be paid to her.
  • Augusta Balk, widow, £500, to be invested and the interest paid to her.
  • The legacies to employés were made on condition that they were working for deceased at the time of his death.
  • £2,000 for building six Cottage Homes, any balance after building to be invested for the benefit of the occupants of such cottages, who shall be poor persons, and for the maintenance of the cottages. Trustees empowered to transfer the cottages to the Cottage Homes Society in North Adelaide.
  • German Club, £1,000.
  • Home for Incurables, £2,000.
  • Blind and Deaf and Dumb Society, £2,000.
  • Residue of the estate to any charitable institutions within 20 miles of Adelaide that the trustees may deem fit.

The business of H.L Vosz was continued by a co-operative of his employees and the various branches of the business formed the basis of Dulux Paints Australia and A.E. Clarkson Ltd


Heinrich Ludwig and and Friederike Dorothea Sophia had two children who travelled with them from Hamburg:

Name Birth Death Spouse
Wilhelm Hartwig Eduard c 1840 Hamburg 10 August 1883 Adelaide unmarried
Adolph Friedrich Emil c 1843 Hamburg 14 March 1868 Adelaide unmarried

Residences in the City

Dates Place Current Address Co-ordinates

Work in the City

Dates Place Current Address Co-ordinates

Published Obituary

From The Adelaide Observer, Saturday 13 March 1886:


The death is announced of Mr. H. L, Vosz, an old and much - respected colonist. The deceased, who was born in Hanover, arrived in the colony in the year 1846, and started in Acland-street as a joiner. When the diggings broke out in Victoria he went there, and on his return he established him self in Rundle-street as a painter, glazier, and paperhanger. Starting at first in a small way his business gradually grew until it became one of the largest in the colonies, and yielded its proprietor great wealth. Mr. Vosz was for a long time a martyr to neuralgia, and a few years ago he paid a visit to Germany, where be underwent an operation, which relieved him for a while, but he had been confined to his bed since October last. Mr. Vosz interested himself greatly in the artesian-well system, to which he devoted much study and had acquired a thorough practical knowledge on the subject. He procured all the information he could from abroad on the latest appliances and their application to this colony, and also obtained machinery with a view to developing the work of water conservation. He was a quiet unassuming citizen of the useful type, devoting himself to business; and though he kept aloof from active political work he was a close observer of the course of events and a shrewd reasoner, showing a keen and intelligent interest in the development of the country. He was of a charitable disposition, but it was a portion of his practical character to avoid ostentatious benevolence. He was the last of the Vosz family, his wife and younger son having died some years ago, and his elder son more recently. Although, as before stated, he took no prominent part in public affairs, yet he held the position of Councillor of the City of Adelaide during the vears 1860,1861, and 1862. The deceased gentleman, who died at ten minutes to 2 o'clock on Tuesday afternoon, was 74 years of age.

An intimate friend of the late Mr. H. L. Vosz has furnished us with the following interesting sketch of the deceased gentleman:—

" Heinrich Ludwig Vosz was born at Hanover on May 3,1812. His father was a poor man, and moved a few years after the birth of his son to a village near Hamburg. To make both ends meet the son had, at the age of 12, to work for his own living with farmers, or where he could find employment. Even at this early period in his life he must have possessed extraordinary powers of observation and determination, because in his old age he often referred to this period of his life, and remarked how much better things might have been done in those days, and what he had pointed out to his employers in that respect At the age of 15 he was apprenticed to a carpenter, and worked at his trade for many years. By dint of hard saving he at last accumulated enough capital to enter into business at Hamburg as a builder on his own account. He met with considerable success till the memorable year 1848 with its disturbances and revolutions swept over the Continent of Europe, and in its wake left many a hope destroyed. My dear old friend was one of the victims. But young and strong he determined to go with his wife and two sons to South Australia, and earn enough money to pay his creditors in full. He arrived at Port Adelaide in January, 1849, and set to work to carry out his purpose. Shortly after his arrival gold was discovered in Victoria, and he went to the diggings and was fairly successful. On his return to Adelaide he rented premises in Rundle-Street. and built up the well-known business of H, L. Vosz, painter and glazier. He now saw his way clear to pay his creditors in full, and the proudest and happiest day of his life was the day when the Hamburg Reform (February, 1860) published an article under the heading 'Ein Braver Mann,' stating how a Mr. Heinrich Ludwig Vosz had sent money to a friend there, and had paid every creditor in full with interest at the rate of 10 per cent, added. The success in business of my dear old friend is so well known that nothing need be said on that score, except that he was aided in this by his late son William, who died August 9,1883. Mr. H. L. Vosz attained this success largely by his sterling character and straight forwardness as a business man. He was one of the few men against whom no man could say 'one evil word.' This, combined with great good judgment and carefulness in expenditure, brought its result. In his private capacity he was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word. He was liberal to a fault, and many hundreds of people have been helped by him unknown to outsiders. He disliked to be thanked or what he did being known. There was nothing he disliked more than 'fuss.' For any kindness shown him he never forgot to be thankful, as is illustrated by a notable instance in his early days here. Messrs. Cleve Brothers allowed him a certain amount of credit. Of course he paid them, but one of those gentlemen wanting help he has helped him liberally. At his home, in spite of intense suffering, he was always; anxious for the comfort of his friends and visitors. To his employés he was more of a father than a master. In fact a more up right, kind, generous man, combined with determination, could hardly be found. For many years he has been subject to the most intense pain, caused by a neuralgic affection. He suffered more in a day than many people suffer in a lifetime, but in spite of it he was always the kind genial old Vosz. I have no doubt, and this will be verified by his will, that the distribution of his property has been made most judiciously. A large portion will be found to have been left to our charitable institutions, and I believe future generations will be able to point to dear old Vosz as 'Ein Braver Mann,' which was his great aim while he was with us."

The remains of the late Mr. Vosz were interred on Wednesday afternoon in the West-terrace Cemetery. The procession started at 3 o'clock from North-terrace, and consisted in all of forty-six carriages. There were no mourning coaches, but four vehicles were set apart for the chief mourners, who included Messrs. Rischbeith, Stock, Bocher, Kelly, Meyer, Herber, Hubald, Harrison, Moldie, Balk, and Tennant. The coffin was conveyed to the hearse by Messrs. Harrison and Moldie. Following the chief mourners were the deceased's employés, who occupied eight wagonettes. The Rev. J. C. Woods, B.A., officiated at the grave. We are informed that no fewer than fifty-two legatees received notice to be present at the reading of the will of Mr. H. L. Vosz on Wednesday afternoon.[2]


  1. "THE LATE MR. H. L. VOSZ'S WILL". Adelaide Observer. Vol. XLIII, , no. 2322. South Australia. 3 April 1886. p. 36. Retrieved 20 September 2023 – via National Library of Australia.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  2. "Death of Mr. H.L. Vosz". The Adelaide Observer. Adelaide, South Australia. 13 March 1886. Retrieved 20 September 2023.

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